World Famous Larchmont Artist, Alton Tobey Dies at Age 90

by Judy Silberstein

(January 6, 2005) For over 50 years, Alton Tobey, the world-recognized illustrator, painter, sculptor and “curvilinearist”, lived, worked and taught in his home at the end of Alton TObeyMurray Avenue in Larchmont. While his wife, Rosalyn, played her piano and taught her music students upstairs in her studio, the artist, known by all as “Tobey”, plied his craft downstairs in his own studio. Tobey’s own large canvases covered almost every wall in the modern home designed by the Tobeys themselves.

Until her untimely death in a 2002 car accident, Rosalyn and Tobey were a creative duo, traveling frequently to Mexico for both musical and visual arts activities. Among the artworks appearing on the walls at the Tobey home, were portraits of Rosalyn.

A week ago, Tobey suffered a stroke, and on Tuesday, January 4, 2005 he died at the Sarah Neuman nursing home, where only a few months ago he had celebrated the simultaneous occasions of his 90th birthday and the unveiling of the Alton Tobey Website devoted to his life and work. (See: World Renowned Artist Celebrates 90th Birthday With Launch of Website.)

“It’s difficult to say something about so great a man,” said Joe Dolice, webmaster for the Alton Toby website. “ Working with his collection for the website, I’m totally astounded by the amount of genius and effort that goes into his work. I’ve never encountered anyone in my travels through the art world that had such a degree of diligence and attention to detail – and a way of conveying in so many different ways what he intended to say through his art,“ said Mr. Dolice.

Tobey completing "The Constellations" at the Thornton-Donovan School in New Rochelle, New York.

“He had a love for life – even at his lowest points,” said daughter Judy, who was on her way back to Larchmont from her Chicago home. “I was incredibly fortunate – I had both parents home 24/7,” she recalled. “I spent some part of almost every day of my childhood sitting on the spiral staircase of his studio watching him paint and just talking,” she reminisced.

Thinking back on what it was like to be the son of Alton Tobey, his son David said, “My father’s love of teaching, science, art, and his belief in humanity has given me strength and a strong sense of purpose in my life. ”


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