Mark Tobey is born 1890 in Centerville (Wisconsin, USA). In 1893 his family moves to Chicago; after having attended the Art Institute (1906-1908), he settles down in New York in 1911, he works there as a portraitist and fashion designer. His first exhibition is organized in 1917 at the Knoedler Gallery. The young man is converted to the Baha'i religion in 1918. The artist moves to Seattle in 1922 and the following year, meets Teng Kuei (Chinese painter and student) who introduces him to calligraphy. Mark Tobey travels for two years in Europe, goes to Beirut and Haifa, where he focuses on Arabic and Persian scripts. Back to Seattle (1927), the artist participates in the creation of the Free and Creative Art School (1928). The following year, his works are exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Tobey settles for several years in Devonshire, travels, stays in China, and Japan (Zen monastery in Kyoto). Back to England (1935), He paints several paintings in a "white writing" that would be the essential characteristic of his work and which critics say have a decisive influence on the route of Jackson Pollock. In 1939, Mark Tobey returns to Seattle, studies piano and music theories, develops his calligraphic experience in 1942, exhibits in New York in 1944 and 1951 in Paris (Jeanne Bucher Gallery) in 1955. He receives in 1956 the Guggenheim International Award, in 1958 he presents a retrospective exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum and win the Grand Prize for painting at the Venice Biennale. A new retrospective is being held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1962. Eager to discover and explore, he is always traveling. Numerous exhibitions and prestigious awards honor him until his disappearance. The artist dies in Basel in 1976, the city where he settles down in 1960.
Composition 1954 Oil on hard-bound paper, signed and dated in bottom on the left by the artist.