Mark Tobey, ‘New York IV’, 1954, Phillips

Achim Moeller, Managing Principal of the Mark Tobey Project LLC, has confirmed the authenticity. The work is registered in the Mark Tobey archive with the number MT [123-6-28-10].

From the Catalogue:
Both real and imagined cities figure prominently as a recurring theme in Mark Tobey’s oeuvre. As he has said, “No doubt I did them because I am an American painter. I cannot be indifferent to the swarming crowds, multitudes, neon signs, movie theaters, to the noises that I hate of modern cities.” (Mark Tobey, quoted in William Chapin Seitz, Mark Tobey, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1962, pp. 15-16) The chaos of New York City held a particular fascination for Tobey as the epitome of the tension between the spiritual and the material, which characterized much of his work and way of thinking. The city figured in over twenty of Tobey’s works, beginning with Broadway (1936), painted while he was a resident artist at Dartington Hall in England, and which was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1942.

New York IV, painted between February and June of 1954, when Tobey had returned to the city, recalls some of the striking stylistic elements of Broadway, in particular the dense composition and sense of frenetic movement. New York IV, however, breaks with the distinct one-point perspective of Broadway, opening up into an all-over composition that scholar and curator William C. Seitz referred to as “multiple space.” Having moved beyond the more representational “white writing” style of the lines in Broadway, in New York IV Tobey reduces the city to an abstract patchwork of colorful brushstrokes and distinct black lines. “The empty space between buildings has been filled with ‘mass’ and movement,” Seitz comments when discussing a work completed shortly after Broadway titled Welcome Hero, “walls are fragmented and…the compartments of architecture, billboards, and other geometric details have broken away from the focus of the street.” (William Chapin Seitz, Mark Tobey, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1962, p. 27) The similarly expressive rendering of the city in New York VI further enhances its frenzied movement, dynamic rhythm, and unique vibrancy.
Courtesy of Phillips

Signature: signed and dated "Tobey 54" lower left; further signed and dated "Tobey 54" lower right

Mr. William Billow
Otto Seligman Gallery, Seattle
Estate of Eugene and Florence Schwartz, Westchester
Private Collection, New York

About Mark Tobey

Abstract painter Mark Tobey strived to represent the mystical through art. Inspired by international travels, Eastern religion, Arabic calligraphy, classical music, and the emerging modes of Abstract Expressionism, Tobey created a unique visual language of all-over painting and gestural abstraction, which he called “white writing.” “What I had learned in the Orient had affected more than I realized,” he said. “In a short time white writing emerged. I had a totally new conception of painting.” When working in this technique, Tobey would place white calligraphic marks and symbols atop an abstract field composed of thousands of densely interwoven brushstrokes.

American, 1890-1976, Centerville, Wisconsin

Group Shows

Nicholas Gallery, 
Modernism in the Pacific Northwest: The Mythic and the Mystical
New York, NY, United States,
Abstract Expressionism / In Context: Seymour Lipton
New York, NY, United States,
INsite/INchelsea: The Inaugural Exhibition
New York, NY, United States,
Evolution in Action
New York, NY, United States,
Abstract Expressionism: Further Evidence (Part One: Painting)
Fondazione Malvina Menegaz, 
Castelbasso, Province of Teramo, Italy,
Nel Segno della Materia - Pittura Informale Europea e Americana
View Artist's CV