Tobey, Mark, 1890–1976, American painter, b. Centerville, Wis. An avid traveler, Tobey visited China and Japan in 1934. He then developed his celebrated "white writing," in which he attempted to symbolize the human spirit by applying principles of Eastern calligraphy to the rhythms of Western civilization. An exciting sense of motion and lyric treatment of light and color are revealed in his San Francisco Street (1941; Detroit Inst. of Arts) and Fountains of Europe (1955; Mus. of Fine Arts, Boston). In 1923, Tobey settled in the NW United States; much of his work is exhibited at the Seattle Art Museum. Transit (1948; Metropolitan Mus.) is characteristic of the East Asian influence in Tobey's art.
See catalog by W. Seitz (1962).