1954 Mark Tobey Born: Centerville, Wisconsin 1890 Died: Basel, Switzerland 1976 casein on paper sheet: 17 3/4 x 11 5/8 in. (45.1 x 29.4 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the Sara Roby Foundation 1986.6.79 Not currently on view
Canticle refers to liturgical hymns taken from the Bible and used in church services. Tobey was a follower of the Baha’I faith, which teaches the “oneness of humankind” and borrows elements from many different religions. The intricate pattern of light-colored calligraphic symbols that animates the abstract surface came to be known as “white writing” and was inspired by the artist’s study of Arabic and Japanese calligraphy.
Graphic Masters II: Highlights from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2009
paint - casein