Mark Tobey, ‘Psaltery, 1st Form’, 1974, Heritage Auctions

Dimensions: 13-7/8 x 10-7/8 inches (image) 25-5/8 x 19-5/8 inches (sheet)
EA 4/22

Signature: Signed and numbered in pencil in lower margin

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

Exhibition Highlights

Nicholas Gallery, 
Modernism in the Pacific Northwest: The Mythic and the Mystical