Mark Tobey — Tobey or not to be ?



Mark Tobey
Tobey or not to be ?

Past: October 16, 2020 → February 27, 2021

Galerie jeanne bucher jaeger mark tobey white space 1956 grid Mark Tobey — Galerie Jeanne Bucher Jaeger La galerie Jeanne Bucher Jaeger présente une exposition muséale d’un artiste majeur de la scène américaine, Mark Tobey, dont les in... 2 - Bien Critique


On the occasion of the 130th anniversary of the birth of Mark Tobey (1890 — 1976), the exhibition offers a convergence of perspectives: that of the the Galerie Jeanne Bucher Jaeger, the artist’s historical gallery in Europe, that of a French private collection, the Collection de Bueil & Ract-Madoux and that of a Museum the Mnam / Cci Centre Pompidou.

In addition to the previous 2010 retrospective organized at the gallery by Véronique Jaeger to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the artist’s birth, as well as the continuous presentations the gallery has regularly organized throughout the years, the gallery recently contributed, through the loan of works, to the important retrospective “Mark Tobey: Threading Light” (curated by Debra Bricker Balken) at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover in 2017-2018, as well as to his 2018 solo exhibition at the Pace Gallery in New York.

This non-commercial solo exhibition presents some forty essential works by the artist spanning thirty years of creative activity, from 1940 to 1970. There hasn’t been a solo exhibition of his works in a French Museum since the 1961 exhibition at the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris, nearly 60 years ago. The exhibition is scheduled to travel in Europe, first to Lisbon in 2021, then to Venice in 2022.

Tobey’s international reputation grew, during his lifetime, mainly in Europe, where he had his first solo exhibition at the Jeanne Bucher Gallery in 1955. His work was shown in London in the Tate Gallery 1956 exhibition “American Painting”, alongside works by Kline, De Kooning, Motherwell, Pollock, Rothko and Clyfford Still. He was the second American, after Whistler, to win the* Grand Prize of the Venice Biennale in 1958*. His first exhibition in a French institution was at the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris in 1961. His settling in Basel in the early 1960s was facilitated by the active support of Ernst Beyeler. Mark Tobey was the subject of a retrospective at the New York MoMA in 1962, and again in 1976.

This discrete artist, nicknamed “the wise man of Seattle,“ was imperceptibly and progressively surrounded by an exceptional aura, that of a founder of modernity, of a mystical artist, but also of a philosopher of abstraction whose works are rare, intimate, dense, and deep. (Cécile Debray)

His works are now part of the collections of many prestigious international institutions, such as the Mnam / Cci Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Fondation Beyeler and the Kunstmuseum in Basel, the Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and Whitney Museum in New York, the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Tate London …

The title TOBEY or not to be ? refers to Mark Tobey’s English roots, through the voice of Shakespeare, to his existential quest, to his own questioning linked to his artistic, philosophical and spiritual approach; it also emphasizes Tobey’s continued importance today by embodying the “to be”. To be. What is To Be in the contemporary era?



On the occasion of this exhibition a catalogue has been published by Gallimard with contributions by Laurence Bertrand Dorléac, Cécile Debray, Dr. David Anfam, Etienne Klein, Stéphane Lambert and Thomas Schlesser.

Laurence Bertrand Dorléac: historian, art historian, professor at Sciences Po (Paris), specialist in artistic production in France during World War II (1938-1947) and in particular during the Occupation.

Cécile Debray: art historian, senior curator, director of the Musée National de l’Orangerie (Paris), specialist in Fauvism, and Henri Matisse.

Dr. David Anfam: art historian, senior consulting curator and director of the Research Center of the Clyfford Still Museum (USA), and specialist of American Abstract Expressionism, and Mark Rothko.

Etienne Klein: physicist, philosopher of sciences, professor at the Ecole Centrale (Paris), director of the research laboratory on Material Sciences, director of research at the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, specialist in quantum physics, particles and time.

Stéphane Lambert: novelist, poet and essayist.

Thomas Schlesser: art historian, professor at the Ecole Polytechnique (Paris), director of the Fondation Hartung Bergman, specialist in the 19th century, and Gustave Courbet.

  • Opening Thursday, October 15, 2020 6 PM → 8:30 PM

    Opening of the exhibition “Mark Tobey — Tobey or not to be ?”

03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

5 rue de Saintonge

75003 Paris

T. 01 42 72 60 42 — F. 01 42 72 60 49

Saint-Sébastien – Froissart

Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 10 AM – 7 PM

Venue schedule

The artist

  • Mark Tobey