The Arts

Retrospective exhibition on Mark Tobey opens in November at Madrid's prestigious Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia

MADRID - An international retrospective exhibition on the work of artist Mark Tobey is scheduled to open in November at the prestigious Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.

Featuring some 130 works from more than 50 separate collections, the exhibition will be the first retrospective on Tobey in more than 20 years, said co-curator Matthias Bärmann. The exhibition is scheduled to open on 11 November and close on 12 January 1998.

"Mark Tobey is one of the most important artists of our century," said Mr. Bärmann, a freelance curator and a specialist on Tobey. "He was one of the first artists who did all-over abstraction in painting, and he prepared the path for abstract expressionism, especially for artists like Jackson Pollock."

Tobey, who was born in Wisconsin in 1890 and died in Switzerland in 1976, was known as a citizen of the world. He travelled extensively during his life and his style was influenced by a wide range of traditional styles, said Mr. Bärmann. Tobey was also a member of the Bahá'í Faith, which clearly influenced his work, Mr. Bärmann said.

"He drew on the constellation of many cultures for his ideas, from American Indian art to East Asian," said Mr. Bärmann. "And, because he was a Bahá'í, he drew on art from the Middle East. But he found a very modern way of expressing all of that in his work."Mr. Bärmann said the exhibition will cover a period of nearly 50 years, from the 1920s up to the early 1970s, and that it will include drawing, temperas, watercolors, works in mixed media, and oil paintings. The works come from museums, galleries and private collections in the United States and Europe.

The Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia is one of the world's top modern art museums. Other museums that are contributing paintings for this exhibition include the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, all in New York, as well as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Kunsthaus in Zurich.