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Artists in 60 Seconds: Alton Tobey


Alton Tobey The Tiger

The Tiger; mixed media

© AltonTobey.com; used with permission

Movement, Style, School or Type of Art:

Realism: Illustration, murals

In the 1950s, Tobey invented an abstract style of painting he named Curvilinear. He based this style on Einstein's postulate that straight lines don't exist in reality. Initially in black and white, the curvilinear pieces became more colorful in the 1970s and eventually included three-dimensional elements.

In the 1980s, Tobey began working on his Fragments, a series of photorealistic paintings of small sections of human anatomy, blown-up to immense sizes.

Date and Place of Birth:

November 5, 1914, Middletown, Connecticut


Alton Tobey's mother provided him with pencils and paper when he was three years old, thus setting him on a career that spanned over six decades. Tobey's Realistic portraiture and murals were his "bread and butter" work, and were often reproduced in print and on collectibles. What he called his "artistic double life" led him to Abstraction, Pre-Columbian explorations and Photorealism. He was also both teacher and mentor to many aspiring artists, and established a scholarship for them.

Important Works:

Date and Place of Death:

January 4, 2005, Mamaroneck, New York

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