Friday, November 03, 2017

Arty Farty Friday ~ Alton Tobey

The internet seems uncertain whether Alton Tobey was born on 5th or 15th November 1914. He was an American artist whose work included hundreds of historical illustrations for Golden Books, portraits of luminaries such as Albert Einstein and Robert Merrill, and large-scale murals that hang in courthouses and museums such as the Smithsonian and the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum. Two of his portraits, "The Apollo Astronauts" and "Brothers United" - of John and Robert Kennedy - were reproduced on posters and sold millions of copies.

Tobey's historical paintings and murals were done in an almost stereotypical idealism, but he also worked in a variety of other styles, including "curvilinear," a decorative, semiabstract form he invented.

In the 1980s,Tobey began producing "Fragments," a series of photorealistic body parts - hands, lips, half a face - magnified by several times. Although his paintings of the famous tended to valorize their subjects in best civic-lesson style, Tobey was also capable of trenchant criticism, as in a weird multiple portrait of Ronald Reagan in which the former president disappears, Cheshire Cat-style, except for his grin.

Further detail is at this obituary, from which the above information was taken. Alton Tobey died in 2005.

As there's doubt on Mr Tobey's exact date of birth I shall give astrology an arty farty break this week.

One or two examples of Alton Tobey's artwork:

 Battle of The Alamo

 The Last Judgment.This painting  represents a final stage in a number of evolutions of his Curvilinear style of paintings



Wisewebwoman said...

I do like the baby but the others, h'm.


Twilight said...

He did catch the American public's imagination at times, was skilled enough to paint decent portraits and - importantly, knowing which subjects to pick, and when!

I like the more abstract curvilinear example above - I'd hang a print of that on my wall - though I don't like its title! :-/