Mark George Tobey (December 11, 1890 - April 24, 1976) was an American painter. His densely structured compositions, inspired by Asian calligraphy, resemble Abstract expressionism, although the motives for his compositions differ philosophically from most Abstract Expressionist painters. His work was widely recognized throughout the United States and Europe. In 1921, Tobey founded the art department at The Cornish School in Seattle, Washington.
Abstraction and spirituality are intimately entwined in the delicate works of Mark Tobey, whom, along with Morris Graves, Life magazine described as a mystical painter. Canticle refers to liturgical hymns from the bible. Tobey acknowledged that the abstract harmony of music was an important source of inspiration: “When I play the piano for several hours, everything is clarified in my visual imagination afterwards.” The intricate pattern of delicate marks that animate the surface (critics called it “white writing”) was inspired by the artist’s study of Arabic and Japanese calligraphy.
Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection, 2014
Works by Mark Tobey at the Internet Archive: