Mark Tobey - 20th c. and Contemporary Art Day Sale - Morning Session New York Tuesday, December 8, 2020 | Phillips
  • An iconic painting on paper, Untitled (Raissance of a Flower) is a quintessential example of Mark Tobey’s singular idiom. Created in 1962, it notably is the unique work based upon which the eponymous edition of lithographs was published in 1975 by Transworld Art. Founded by New York gallerist Alex Rosenberg in 1968, Transworld Art commissioned artists such as Alexander Calder, Salvador Dali, and Robert Rauschenberg to create prints and multiples. Tobey and Rosenberg collaborated on a series of lithographs in the 1970s in particular, many of which now reside in the permanent collection of the  Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.. 

    The present work was notably exhibited at Alex Rosenberg Gallery’s exhibition An Intimate Portrait of Mark Tobey in 1979, prompting a reviewer for Art Magazine to state:
    "Raissance of a Flower, a small work of tempera on paper, seems to veil the secrets of life of a flower bud behind a mesh of ever-active organic looking matter." —Arts Magazine, 1979

    Untitled (Raissance of a Flower) exemplifies Tobey’s idiosyncratic “white writing” that weaves webs of letter-like symbols on the entirety of the painted surface. Reminiscent of the Abstract Expressionists’ “all-over” compositions, the present work equally summons questions on physicality and space. A meticulous construction of undulating white lines, the present work indeed demonstrates Tobey’s exceptional capacity to create an illusion of spatial infinity, blurring the line between pictorial flatness and three-dimensionality; the shape of Tobey’s white undulations, purposely resembling figurative symbols, suggests an underlying calligraphic influence evocative of Eastern iconography. Drawing from the idea that one’s existence can be understood as a web of interlaced elements, Tobey’s work meditates upon the various networks that structure the universal. 

    • Provenance

      Alex Rosenberg Gallery, New York
      Private Collection, Germany
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      New York, Alex Rosenberg Gallery, An Intimate Portrait of Mark Tobey, January 10 - February 3, 1979

    • Literature

      Arts Magazine, vol. 53, 1979, p. 27 (illustrated)
      Heiner Hachmeister, ed., Mark Tobey: Light Space, Munich, 2004, pp. 70-71 (illustrated)


Untitled (Raissance of a Flower)

signed and dated “Tobey 62” lower right
tempera on paper
11 1/8 x 7 1/4 in. (28.3 x 18.3 cm)
Executed in 1962.

Achim Moeller, Managing Principal of The Mark Tobey Project LLC, has confirmed the authenticity. The work is registered in the Mark Tobey archive with the number MT [289-7-20-20].

Full Cataloguing

$20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $44,100

Contact Specialist

John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th c. and Contemporary Art Day Sale - Morning Session

New York 8 December 2020