Born in Centerville, Wisconsin, on December 11 to George Baker Tobey, a carpenter, bricklayer, and farmer, and Emma Jane Tobey. Mark is the youngest of four children.

Family moves to Trempealeau, Wisconsin, where Tobey spends his childhood and adolescence.

Family moves to Hammond, Indiana. Attends classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. His father falls ill and Tobey gives up academic and artistic studies.

Family moves to Chicago. Tobey works as an apprentice in a fashion house and a fashion designer for a publishing house.

Moves to Greenwich Village in New York City, hoping to succeed as a fashion designer. Works for McCall's Magazine. Moves back to Chicago at the end of the year.

Attends the Armory Show at the Art Institute, Chicago, influencing his views on art.

Continues working as a fashion designer in New York and Chicago. Begins painting portraits.

Knoedler, New York holds an exhibition of his portraits. Begins work as an interior decorator.

Becomes a member of the Baha'i community.Discovers William Blake's work at the Pierpont Morgan Library. Earns his living as a caricaturist; his caricatures appear in the New York Times. His marriage dissolves after one year. Meets Marcel Duchamp. Moves to Seattle.

Teaches at the Cornish School, Seattle. Befriends Teng Kuei, a Chinese student from Washinton University, who introduces him to East Asian painting and spirituality.

Visits Paris; meets Gertrude Stein.

Travels in Barcelona, Athens, Istanbul, Cairo, and Beirut. Becomes interested in Arabic and Persian calligraphy.

Creates the Free and Creative Art School in Seattle with Edgar Ames. First solo exhibition of his work at the Arts Club of Chicago.

Invited by Alfred H. Barr, Jr. to take part in a 1930/31 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Asked to teach at the Dartington Hall School in Devonshire, England, run by Leonard and Dorothy Elmhurst; accepts the position and moves to England.

Tobey is "resident artist" at Dartington Hall. Meets Pearl S. Buck, Aldous Huxley, Bernard Leach, Rabindranath Tagore, Rudi Shankar and
Others interested in the link between western and eastern cultures.

Travels to Mexico, Europe and Palestine.

Travels to China with ceramic artist Bernard Leach, passing through Paris, Rome, Naples, Colombo, and Hong Kong. Visits Teng Kuei and his family in Shanghai. Discovers the Nô and Kabuki theater. Spends a month in a Zen monastery near Kyoto where he studies Zen philosophy and painting, calligraphy, and meditation, inspiring his "white writings". Returns to the United States.

At Dartington Hall, paints Broadway norm, Broadway and Welcome here, the painting which marked the beginnings of his "white writings."

Spends the summer teaching in Tacoma, Washington.

Teaches in Seattle that summer.

Tobey gives up teaching at Dartington Hall; has trouble readjusting to life in Seattle.

Befriends Pehr Hallsten.

Awarded the Baker Memorial Award, Northwest Annual Exhibition, Seattle Art Museum.

Begins taking lessons in piano and music theory.

During the exhibition "Artists for Victory" at the Museum of Modern Art, his painting Broadway is sold.

First solo exhibition at the Willard Gallery, New York with favorable press reviews. His work begins to receive national acclaim.

Julia and Lyonel Feininger write the text for the catalogue of Tobey's exhibition at the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Oregon. Exchanges work with Feininger, starting a lasting friendship until Feininger's death in 1956.

Participates in the Venice Biennale.

Josef Albers invites Tobey to spend three months at the Yale University Art Department. Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York.

Mark Tobey: Artist, made in 1951 by Robert G. Gardener with sound and script by Tobey, is shown at the Venice and Edinburgh film festivals.

Spends productive period in New York from February to June. Begins work on the Meditative Series. Meets Michel Tapié and Georges Mathieu in Paris.

Visits Basel, Bern and the south of France. A retrospective exhibition is held at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London.

Takes part in the collective exhibition at the Tate Gallery, London, entitled 'American Painting' with Kline, de Kooning, Motherwell, Pollock, Rothko and Still. Tobey is made a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters; receives the Guggenheim International Award. Participates in the Venice Biennale.

Period of Zen literature and philosophy (Suzuki). Paints the 'Sumi' ink paintings.

Receives the Great International Award at the Venice Biennale.

Completes the mural created for the Washington State Library, Olympia. Takes part in the Documenta II in Kassel.

Refuses membership to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Moves to a house in Basel in the St. Alban-Vorstadt with Pehr Hallsten and Mark Ritter, leading a quiet life of painting, music, and friends. As a representative of the United States, takes part in "East-West", a congress in Vienna organized by the Association of Plastic Arts.

Awarded first prize at 'The 1961 International Exhibition of Contemporary Painting and Sculpture' at the Carnegie Institute, Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. Retrospective at the Musée des arts décoratifs in Paris.

Retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Completes the mural for the Seattle Opera House. Participates in the Venice Biennale.

Awarded Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in Paris.

Retrospective entitled "Tobey's 80" at the Seattle Art Museum.

Exhibition entitled 'Tribute to Mark Tobey' at the National Collectionof Fine Arts, Washinton.

Dies 24 April in Basel.

Back To Top