ALTON S. TOBEY
Internationally renowned artist Alton S. Tobey died on
Tuesday, January 4th after a long illness.He was a long
time resident of Larchmont, New York; creator of dozens of
murals at the Smithsonian Institution and many other public
places worldwide; illustrator for thousands of books and
other publications; and a founder of the Curvilinear school
Alton Tobey was best known for the murals, which he
called "symphonies of painting". They were the
first works for which he achieved national acclaim after
graduating and teaching art at Yale University. Today, his
murals grace the halls of the Smithsonian Institution in
Washington DC; The MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, VA., The
Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum in New York and dozens of other
public buildings throughout the world.
Tobey was a distinguished historian and art educator, and
served on numerous non-profit organizations, where he regularly
donated his time and talents. He held the office of president
in The National Society of Mural Painters, Artist's Equity
of New York and The Mamaroneck Artist's Guild, and was the
recipient of many art awards including the WPA Murals Award,
The Edwin Abbey Mural Award, The Lindner Memorial Award;
and others from Grumbacher, The Westchester Society and The
Westchester Council for The Arts, to name a few.
His dedication to research, science and history spawned
a career as an illustrator for LIFE magazine, 350 paintings
for The Golden Books History of the United States, and for
paintings in dozens of other books and periodicals. In a
May 1976 feature article in American Artist magazine, Tobey's
historical paintings were described as works of "loving
accuracy," and Tobey as an artist of "...insatiable
curiosity, diligent investigation, well developed powers
of visualization, and consummate craftsmanship."
Although his historical work recreated thousands of figures
from the past; Tobey also did many portraits of his contemporaries.
His portrait "Brothers United," of John F. and Robert Kennedy,
and his depictions of the Apollo II astronauts were
made into prints and were loved
and collected by millions worldwide. On portraits, Tobey
said: "In creating a portrait of someone - whether painted,
sculpted, drawn or photographed, we must look carefully to
catch that particular unique [personal] quality. In fact,
we can neglect nothing." Many of his other works were
reproduced in both limited and open editions by Scafa Tournabene,
The Franklin Mint, Royal Doulton and other art print and
As a Modernist painter, he was a founder of the Curvilinear
school of painting based upon the theories of Albert Einstein.
He had dozens of one-man exhibitions of his Curvilinears,
his Fragments paintings, and his dimensional conceptual works
in museums and galleries both locally and internationally.
Over 400 of his paintings from every period of the six decades
of his work, and a detailed illustrated biography of Tobey
are on his website, launched just this past November to celebrate
his 90th birthday, at www.altontobey.com.
Tobey, who was the brother of the late Unis and Burt Tobey,
is survived by his son David, who is also both a painter
and a musician; by his daughter Judy who lives in Chicago;
by his grandchildren, Andrew and Elizabeth.
be held at Zion Memorial Chapel at 785 East Boston Post Road
in Mamaroneck, NY (10543) on Friday, January 7th at 11:30
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the
fund established by the Mamaroneck Artist Guild to nurture
and encourage young artists: The Alton S. Tobey Scholarship
Fund, c/o Mamaroneck Artist Guild; 2120 Boston Post Road;
Larchmont, NY 10538. Make check payable to MAG and notate "Tobey
Fund" in the memo section.
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