Mark Tobey papers, circa 1850-1985  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Tobey, Mark
Title
Mark Tobey papers
Dates
circa 1850-1985 (inclusive)
Quantity
22.83 cubic feet (including 54 boxes and 1 oversize package) plus 3 vertical files, 3 disc recordings, 1 phonograph record and 1 sound cassette
Collection Number
3593
Summary
Painter, residing primarily in Seattle, Washington, and Basel, Switzerland
Repository
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
98195-2900
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
speccoll@uw.edu
Access Restrictions

Consult the access restrictions information for each of the accessions listed below.

Languages
English


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Mark Tobey was born December 11, 1890, in Centerville, Wisconsin, and grew up in Trempealeau, Wisconsin, and Hammond, Indiana. His only formal art training was painting classes at the Art Institute of Chicago while he was in high school. Tobey's career as an artist began in Chicago as an illustrator for fashion catalogs. After moving to Greenwich Village in 1911, he worked briefly as a fashion illustrator for McCalls. During his early years in New York, Tobey also drew charcoal portraits and in the 1920's became known for his theater caricatures and drawings of vaudeville and burlesque figures.

In 1918 Tobey accepted the Baha'i faith. He remained active in Baha'i circles throughout the rest of his life, studied and taught Baha'i, and contributed financially to the community. Tobey had many Baha'i friends throughout the world, such as Joyce and Arthur Dahl of California, who also became his greatest collectors. Baha'i exterted an important influence on Tobey's work, providing him with aesthetic as well as religious principles.

In 1922 Tobey moved to Seattle and accepted a job teaching art classes at the Cornish School. For the next 38 years, despite long absences in New York and Europe, he made Seattle his home. In Seattle he was first exposed to the art of the Far East when, in 1923, he met Teng Kuei, a young Chinese artist who taught him Chinese brushwork.

From 1927-30 Tobey divided his time between New York, Chicago, and Seattle. In 1930 he moved to Dartington Hall, a progressive school of the arts in England run by Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst, where he taught until 1938. In 1934 Tobey visited China and Japan and spent a month in a Zen monastery. Scholars have seen a connection between Tobey's sojurn in the Orient and the evolution of his mature style. "Broadway Norm," "Broadway" and "Welcome Hero," painted at Dartington in 1935-36, mark the beginning of his interest in the theme of the city and his use of the white calligraphic style. Tobey would not return to this style until the 1940's when he had resettled in Seattle.

Interest in Tobey's work continued in Seattle while Tobey was abroad. In 1934 the fledgling Seattle Art Museum presented a one man show of Tobey's works. With the outbreak of war imminent in Europe, Tobey returned to Seattle in 1938 and worked on the WPA Federal Art Project. In 1939 Nancy Wilson Ross introduced him to Marian Willard whose gallery eventually became his representative in New York (Tobey's first show at the Willard Gallery was in 1944).

The 1940's were a productive time for Tobey in Seattle. He was invariably represented in SAM's Northwest Annual. His controversial "Modal Tide" won the Baker Memorial award in the 1940 Annual, and in 1942 he received another one man show at the Museum. These were also the years of his Pike Place Market drawings.

In 1941 Tobey began piano and music theory lessons with Bertha Poncy Jacobson. He maintained a lifelong interest in music and later studied composition with John Verralla, George Frederick McKay, Lockrem Johnson, and Wesley Wehr.

In 1953 Otto Seligman opened his gallery in Seattle and Tobey had his first one man show there in 1954. Seligman remained Tobey's friend and Seattle dealer until Seligman's death in 1966.

While living in Paris from October 1954 to June 1955, Tobey had a one man show at Jeanne Bucher's gallery. The critical acclaim for this show marked the beginning of his international success. In 1958 he won the first prize at the XXIX Biennale in Venice, the first American since Whistler to receive the award. The same year SAM mounted a Tobey retrospective with 224 paintings.

In 1960 Tobey moved to Basel, Switzerland, with Mark Ritter, his secretary, and Pehr Hallsten, his friend and long-time companion. Tobey kept a studio in Seattle ' s University District, however, and returned in the summers until 1968.

In 1962 John and Anne Hauberg commissioned Tobey to paint a large mural for the Seattle Opera House. The mural, "Journey of the Opera Star, II was installed in 1964.

Throughout the 1960's and early 1970's Tobey continued to paint and achieve international recognition. His work received retrospectives at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris in 1961, the Museum of Modern Art in 1962, the Seattle Art Museum in 1970 ("Tobey's 80"), and the National Collection of Fine Arts in Washington, D.C., in 1974 ("Tribute to Mark Tobey").

Tobey died in 1976.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Biographical information, correspondence, drawings and other art works, exhibition press material, sound recordings, and photographs relating to artist Mark Tobey.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Consult the restrictions governing reproduction and use for each of the accessions listed below.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

 

Accession No. 3593-001: Mark Tobey papers, 1945-1977Return to Top

0.72 cubic feet (2 boxes)

Scope and Content: Biographical features, correspondence, gallery notices, exhibition catalogs, clippings, photographs.

Photographs are 8" x 10" black & white copies; all are of his work, except two.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: Received 1/1/1983.

Description
Mark Tobey papers

Accession No. 3593-002: Mark Tobey papers, circa 1923-1976Return to Top

11.96 cubic feet (29 boxes)

Scope and Content: Correspondence, writings, diaries, music, gallery notices, photographs, clippings, ephemera.

Restrictions on Access: Access restricted: For terms of access, contact Special Collections.

Acquisition Info: Donated by Seattle Art Museum, 3/27/1985.

Description
Mark Tobey papers

Accession No. 3593-003: Mark Tobey papers, 1931-1975Return to Top

8.5 cubic feet (19 boxes)

Scope and Content: Correspondence, art works by Tobey and others, exhibition catalogs and posters, photographs and negatives, writings, phonodisc, memorabilia.

Art works from Tobey estate are those considered not exhibit quality by the Seattle Art Museum. Many are untitled and unidentified. Art works by unidentified artists are listed by dimensions only. Measurements are approximate, in inches, and for the most part are outer dimensions.

Negatives of photographs were for use of the Foster White Gallery in its exhibition of Jan 1990. Each negative has been placed with the original photograph.

Restrictions on Access: Access restricted: For terms of access, contact Special Collections.

Description
Mark Tobey papers

Accession No. 3593-004: Mark Tobey papers, 1944-1985Return to Top

0.36 cubic foot (1 box)

Scope and Content: Exhibition catalogs, gallery notices.

All the catalogs and notices are regarding Mark Tobey. They were given to Marshall Hatch by the Willard Gallery in New York City, which sold Tobey's work from about 1943 until the gallery closed in 1986.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Acquisition Info: Donated by Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Hatch, 2/11/1988.

Description
Mark Tobey papers

Accession No. 3593-006: Mark Tobey Papers papers, circa 1850-1978Return to Top

0.66 cubic feet (1 box)

Scope and Content: Photographs; 1850s-1978, many have no date.

Includes several hundred photographs of Tobey, others, Tobey family members, and Tobey art works. See inventory.

Restrictions on Access: Access restricted: For terms of access, contact Special Collections.

Acquisition Info: Donated by Tobey Estate, 11/19/1988.

Description
Mark Tobey Papers papers

Accession No. 3593-008: Mark Tobey painting, 1935Return to Top

0.17 cubic feet ( 1 oversize package)

Scope and Content: Painting by Mark Tobey, "Untitled (Landscape)".

Painting is tempera on paper, mounted on board; dimensions are 7.25" x 18.5".

Restrictions on Access: Access restricted: For terms of access, contact Special Collections.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: Donated by Seattle Art Museum, 3/23/1993.

Description
Mark Tobey painting

Accession No. 3593-009: Mark Tobey recordings, Return to Top

1 phonograph record; 1 sound cassette

Scope and Content: Phonograph recording and audiocassette dub of it, of music composed by Mark Tobey.

Note: the phondisc label has misspelled words in the titles; contents should read "Aubade", "Memories are Hunting Horns", and "Hommage a Windsor Utley". The flautist for all three selections was Windsor Utley.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: Donated by John Gibbs, 2/23/1994.

Description
Mark Tobey recordings

Accession No. 3593-010: Mark Tobey musical compositions, 1952-1957Return to Top

0.23 cubic feet (1 box)

Scope and Content: Musical compositions consisting of piano sketches and composition exercises.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: Donated by Arthur Barnett, 3/31/1994.

Description
Mark Tobey musical compositions

Accession No. 3593-011: Mark Tobey design, before 1977Return to Top

1 vertical file

Scope and Content: Linoleum block designed for the Washington State Theatre; n.d.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: Donated by W.U. Libraries, 6/11/1996.

Description
Mark Tobey design

Accession No. 3593-014: Mark Tobey papers, circa 1930-1939Return to Top

1 vertical file

Scope and Content: Drawings (one with music manuscript), exhibit catalogs. They date from the 1930's and several were previously owned by dancer Louise Soelberg, a friend of Tobey.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: May be copied and quoted.

Acquisition Info: Donated by Basil Langton, 3/30/2000.

Description
Mark Tobey papers

Accession No. 3593-015: Mark Tobey papers, 1955-1965Return to Top

1 vertical file

Biographical/Historical Note: Kathleen Agnew Huston and Mark Tobey became good friends in the 1950s and 1960s, when Huston took painting classes from Tobey, who resided in Seattle's University District. After Tobey moved to Basel, Switzerland, he and Huston remained in touch through letters and postcards. Huston and her daughter, Janet, traveled to meet Tobey in Europe and attended his first one-man show at the Jean Boucher Gallery in Paris, France.

Scope and Content: Two photographs and several postcards, envelopes, and letters from American artist Mark Tobey addressed to Kathleen Agnew Huston. Includes a hand-written list of women painters who took classes from Tobey.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: Janet Huston Kathleen Agnew Huston is the mother of donor Janet Huston., 2012-04-20

Description
Mark Tobey papers

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Artists--United States
  • Artists--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Personal Names :
  • Hallsten, Pehr, d. 1965
  • Tobey, Mark--Archives
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • Anderson, Guy, 1906-1998 (creator)
    • Burkhardt, Hans (creator)
    • Burkhardt, Thordis (creator)
    • Dahl, Arthur (creator)
    • Dahl, Joyce (creator)
    • Elmhirst, Dorothy (creator)
    • Elmhirst, Leonard K (creator)
    • Feininger, Julia (creator)
    • Feininger, Lyonel, 1871-1956 (creator)
    • Flanner, Janet, 1892-1978 (creator)
    • Ford, John (creator)
    • Graham, Martha (creator)
    • Hauberg, Anne Gould (creator)
    • Holty, Carl, 1900-1973 (creator)
    • Jacobson, Berthe Pency (creator)
    • Leach, Bernard, 1887-1979 (creator)
    • Morton, Marjory (creator)
    • Ritter, Mark (creator)
    • Seders, Francine, 1932- (creator)
    • Seliger, Charles, 1926- (creator)
    • Turbyfill, Mark (creator)
    • Utley, Windsor, 1920-1989
    • Willard, Marian, 1904- (creator)
    • Corporate Names :
    • Henry Art Gallery (creator)
    • Willard Gallery