Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Seattle Art Museum (SAM)


Photo: Elizabeth Mann



Mark Tobey

born Centerville, Wisconsin, 1890; died Basel, Switzerland, 1976

Oil on canvas
82 1/16 x 47 3/8 in. (208.5 x 120.3 cm)
Gift of the Virginia Wright Fund
Provenance: [Willard Gallery, New York, by 1966 (as Composition)-1970]; sold (as Parnassus) to Virginia Wright, for the Virginia Wright Fund, Seattle, Washington, by March 1970; to Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, 1974
Photo: Elizabeth Mann
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistoryHannover, Germany, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Mark Tobey, May 19 - June 26, 1966. Cat. no. 113 (as Composition, 1963; 214.5 x 127 cm, lent by Marian Willard Johnson).

Dublin, Ireland, Royal Dublin Society, National Museum of Ireland, ROSC ’67: The Poetry of Vision—An International Exhibition of Modern Painting and Ancient Celtic Art, Nov. 14 - Dec. 31, 1967. Cat. no. 124 (as Composition, 1963).

Dallas, Texas, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Mark Tobey Retrospective, Mar. 20 - Apr 21, 1968. Text by Merrill C. Rueppel. Cat. no. 109 (as Composition, 1964, lent by Willard Gallery).

Osaka, Japan, Expo '70, Washington State Pavilion, Mar.15 - Sept.13, 1970. {No catalogue?}.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Tobey’s 80: A Retrospective, Dec. 3, 1970 - Jan. 31, 1971. Text by Betty Bowen. Cat. no. 77, reproduced n.p. (as Parnassus, 1963).

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum Pavilion, Mark Tobey and Northwest Masters, July 9-Sept. 5, 1971. {No catalogue?}.

Tacoma, Washington, Tacoma Art Museum, Mark Tobey, Oct. 6 - 31, 1972. No cat. no.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum Pavilion, American Art: Third Quarter Century, Aug. 22 - Oct. 14, 1973. Text by Jan van der Marck. Cat. no. 70, pp. 13, 102, reproduced p. 13 [lent by Virginia Wright Fund].

Washington, D.C., National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Art of the Pacific Northwest From the 1930s to the Present, Feb. 8-May 5, 1974 (Seattle, Seattle Art Museum, July 12-Aug. 25, 197; Portland, Oregon, Portland Art Museum, Sept. 17-Oct. 13, 1974). Text by Rachael Griffin and Martha Kingsbury. Cat. no. 121, p. 130, reproduced p. 131 [lent by Virginia Wright Fund].

Miami, Miami-Dade South, The Art Gallery, Mark Tobey, 1930-1967: A Selection of Works from the Seattle Art Museum, Dec. 1, 1975 - Jan. 29, 1976. Cat. no. 23, pp. 8-11, reproduced p. 3.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Vancouver Art Gallery, The Seattle Art Museum Lends, Mar. 13 - Apr. 11, 1976. No cat. no.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Northwest Traditions, June 29 - Dec. 10, 1978. Text by Martha Kingsbury. No catalogue no., pp. 54, 106, reproduced p. 54.

Miami, Florida, Center for the Fine Arts, In Quest of Excellence: Civic Pride, Patronage, Connoisseurship, Jan. 14 - Apr. 22, 1984. Text by Jan van der Marck et al. Cat. no. 192, p. 212, reproduced p. 200.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Views and Visions in the Pacific Northwest, June 7 - Sept. 2, 1990. No catalogue.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Light, Shadow, and Gesture: Paintings by Northwest Artists, Aug. 14, 1997 - Aug. 2, 1998. No catalogue.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, International Abstraction: Making Painting Real, May 2, 2003 - Feb. 29, 2004. No catalogue.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Modern in America, July 8, 2004 - Feb. 27, 2005. No catalogue.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Modernism in the Pacific Northwest: The Mythic and the Mystical, June 19 - Sept. 2, 2014. Text by Patricia Junker. No cat. no., p. 6, reproduced pl. 1, n.p.

London, England, Royal Academy of Arts, Abstract Expressionism, Sept. 24, 2016 - Jan. 2, 2017 (Bilbao, Spain, Guggenheim Museum, Feb. 3 - June 4, 2017). Text by David Anfam et al. Cat. no. 116, p. 264, reproduced.
Published ReferencesVoorhees, John. “Art Fund Provides $1 Million for Area,” Seattle Times, Sunday, March 15, 1970: p. C8.

Voorhees, John. “’Parnassus’ Preview at September Affair II,” Seattle Times, September 15, 1970: p. 47.

Vorhees, John. "Tobey Shows: Real Celebration," The Seattle Times, December 13, 1970: n.p.

“Seattle’s Pride.” Apollo 92 (December 1970): p. 492.

Voorhees, John. “Three ‘Parties’ for Mark Tobey,” Seattle Times, December 1, 1970: p: 24.

Voorhees, John. “Tobey Show a ‘Proud Moment’,” Seattle Times, December 3, 1970: p. 51.

"Mark Tobey and Other Northwest Masters Will Share Exhibit in Seattle Center." The Shoreline Journal (July 7, 1971): n.p.

Voorhees, John. “Tobey—and Friends—At Art Museum Pavilion,” Seattle Times, August 8, 1971: p. 31.

Voorhees, John. “Let’s Hear it for the P.N.A.C.,” Seattle Times, July 11, 1972: p. 15.

“A Toast for Pacific Northwest Art Center’s Aims,” Seattle Times, July 12, 1972: p. 33, reproduced.

Annual Report of the Seattle Art Museum, 1972-1973. Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, 1973; reproduced p. 30.

Tarzan, Delores. “New Curator has Bright Plans,” Seattle Times, March 14, 1975: p. 67.

Tarzan, Deloris. “Seattle’s Art ‘Establishment’,” Seattle Times, January 18, 1976: p. 151.

Visions of Inner Space: Gestural Painting in Modern American Art. Los Angeles: Wight Art Gallery, University of California, Los Angeles, 1987; p. 11, reproduced fig. 1.

Selected Works. Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, 1991; p. 125, reproduced.

Fairbrother, Trevor. The Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection. Seattle: Seattle Art Museum in association with University of Washington Press, 1999; p. 39.

Seattle Art Museum: Bridging Cultures. London: Scala Publishers Ltd., 2007; p. 17, reproduced p. 16.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

Learn more about Equity at SAM