Tobey The Man Master of Realism Beyond Realism
LIFE & WORK MURALS FRAGMENTS
SOCIAL COMMENTARY PORTRAITS CURVILINEARS
OUTLINE BIO PUBLISHED LATIN
ALTON S. TOBEY - REMEMBRANCES PAGE This page contains the many messages of remembrance that visitors to Alton Tobey's website have sent to his family since his death on January 4th, 2005. If you would like to have your message posted to this page, please send it to us by email. It will be added as soon as possible. Thank you.
If you scroll to the bottom of this page, you will find links to newspaper articles and other media coverage of Alton's death.
To the Tobey family - This is somewhat belated, but allow me to express my sympathies over the passing of Alton Tobey. I am one of the thousands, if not millions, who were inspired toward a lifelong love of American history largely due to Mr. Tobey's illustrations in the Golden Books series. We had the entire series, purchased at the supermarket by my mother, if I recall correctly, and I spent many, many hours pouring over those vivid paintings and the stirring text.
I did not realize (but I am not surprised) that Mr. Tobey had such a wide reputation. I am looking forward to learning about more of his works.
As I got older, I gave away most of the Golden Book volumes but kept the ones on the Civil War and World War I, which I still enjoy looking at. Do you have any idea where I could obtain a full set? I plan on checking Ebay. I have searched many used book stores but have never come across them. They are a treasure from my childhood that I would like to recapture.
Again, my condolences and my thanks for the continuing pleasure Mr. Tobey's artwork brings to me.
-- John Matuszak
I am saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. Alton S. Tobey. Please convey my condolences and those of everyone at the General Douglas MacArthur Foundation and the MacArthur Memorial to his family. His murals of the life and times of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur are very special to us because they truly capture this great American Soldier, his family and the fabric of life that made him who he was.
Will you send me some biographical information and pictures on Mr. Tobey for a future article in our newsletter? If I can be of assistance please let me know. Sincerely,
-- William J. Davis
Colonel, USMC (Retired)
Executive Director, General Douglas MacArthur Foundation
Director, MacArthur Memorial
I would like to commend you all on the beautiful and loving site dedicated to Mr. Alton Tobey. I was a private art student of his during my high school years in Scarsdale from 1968-1972. I saw many of his original paintings done for Life, Epic of Man and other publications hanging on the walls of his studio. I went to see him once week after school and was so captivated by his masterfulness and his gentle demeanor. Though I painted under his guidance, we often times just talked about art; the masters; great paintings and what have you. He instilled in me a deep philosophy and love for art. He never hesitated to thoughtfully answer my questions - no matter how naive they might have been. I have retained much of what he taught me in my subsequent years as an artist. I have such fond memories of his kind and mellow manner in which he directed my learning to paint. I've never forgotten what a precious education it was to be taught by him. I fondly treasure those memories.
If you click on the link below my signature you can view the product of some of that schooling of his by viewing my paintings at my web site. Very truly yours,
-- William Barkin
I was so sorry to hear that Mr. Tobey died. I was fascinated by his art and by his view of the world. He seemed ageless. I took piano lessons from Mrs. Tobey, as did my children, for many years, so we would come into contact with him, especially when he would be working on a particularly large work set up in the piano teaching area. Nothing seemed too large for him. We would watch him paint, lying sideways up on a scaffolding, for long periods of time, and marvel at his focus. He certainly loved his work and it was wonderful that he was able to share his talent with the rest of us through his whole life.
-- Martha Kaufman
My profound condolences to you and your family on the death of your father, Alton. He was a wonderfully talented man and will be greatly missed by all of us in the Westchester community.
I hope that the passage of time will ease the pain you feel and leave behind only pleasant memories. Please accept my deepest sympathy on this sad occasion. Sincerely,
-- Suzi Oppenheimer
New York State Senator
I only met Alton Tobey twice, but he had a big effect on my life as he did on so many others. I've written an appreciation for a weblog that I contribute to
. . . but when I was eight years old, I had no doubt about one thing: Alton Tobey was the best artist in the world. . . read more of this weblog at:
Thank you for creating this site. It is a wonderful tribute to Mr. Tobey's work.
I felt so sad when I read the N.Y. Times today and saw that Alton had passed away. He truly was a very special, gifted and giving human being. It was an honor to have studied painting with him because he was inspiring and caring. It seemed that whatever level we students were on, he gave equally to each. You should consider yourself lucky to have had such wonderful parents. I greatly admired Roz for her personality and talent.
It will be even more meaningful to own one of his paintings if it can be worked out and when things settle down in your life, please contact me again.My thoughts are with you and David and your families.
-- Tania (Kleid/Sumberg)
I'm saddened by the loss of your Father, Alton. I too lost my own dad 2 years ago, and understand your pain. But this note is to celebrate the life and colors and amazing images your dad brought to this world.
When I was a teenager my folks bought me the set of books he illustrated for the Golden Book series, which I still have.
What I saw in those books gave me a vivid glimpse into the past through your fathers eyes. The way he handled his brush strokes, when seen up close, seemed wild, but when held away, brought such a gritty contrast and clarity, especially to the battles, that you could almost smell the smoke, and want to wipe off the dirt.
I was once told the highest praise for an artist was to transport the viewer into a different place, even for a little while. Each time I see his works I still am, and can appreciate his art and the country he loved. Thanks so much for setting up this website. This is the Only site with his all of his art, and I will be visiting it for many years to come. This is truely a work of the heart, and a great tribute to your father. He will be remembered.
-- Steve Bunn
Bay Area, CA
Though we attended his 90th and the fine service today, it is very hard to say "Good bye" to this remarkable man. Though I was at Yale 65 years ago, I can honestly say that I never had a better teacher. He would sit there quietly, or sometimes telling one of his fascinating stories -- and then suddenly he would say just one perceptive sentence of correction. That sentence could give me a half hour of corrective work - but, of course, he was always right and because he always had me make the correction, I learned a lot from it. I felt, moreover, that over the 25 years we worked together we had become friends. Jean and I both loved to be in the company of this kind, witty and sophisticated man. He was in every way a true genleman.
After each lesson I would scribble down the notes of what he had taught me that day so that over the years I have a fairly broad (but fairly crude) summary of his concepts of painting in oil. He did not praise easily, and one of my big moments with him was when he asked me to send him a photograph of my painting of Isaiah. Jean and I treated two of our sons to lessons with him, and we think that they have done some fine work.
The remarks which you made this morning and those of the other speakers gave a true picture of Alton Tobey. Jean and I will miss him a lot.
-- Henry Pollak
We are the proud owners of "George Bernard Shaw" one of your father's "Fragments" painting. It hangs in a prominent spot in our Rye, NY library. He may be the only Late 20th Century artist we have on our library or living room walls. He is in the company of James Tissot, Berthe Morisot, Henri Labasque and the Norwegian impressonist, Carl Holsoe. I was one of Alton's students in his studio on Tuesdays in the 1960's. I eventually went on to get a Fine Arts degree, on my 50th Birtday, from Manhattanville College. I now sculpt, mostly in stone, but also in clay, and wax which I have cast in bronze. I still think of Alton as my earliest inspiration.
-- Caren Weiss
My name is Ellen Druck Mirtz, and 50 years ago I lived in Larchmont and studied with Tobey in his home studio in Larchmont. He had a profound influence on me that has followed me throughout my life. I was in high school then, and when I established my adult life in Rye, NY and was raising my family, I returned to his studio and continued my Alton Tobey education and instruction. He was wonderful, encouraging, patient, and so incredibly talented. It was a privilege to be able to go to his home every Tuesday and spend the day immersing myself in his genius. Today I live in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, my children are grown, and I have four grandchildren. But my love and appreciation for art lives on now in my pursuit of sculpture.
The style of realistic painting that I learned from Tobey has been transferred to my sculptures, and I realize that I never would be able to do the work I am doing now were it not for the years I spent learning from the best and the nicest man. I wish I could thank him one more time for encouraging my artistic interest. My very best to his family who he always spoke of so lovingly.
-- Ellen Druck Mirtz
I thought he was a damned good artist. One of the great privileges of this job [as a newspaper editor] is finding out about people like him who have had an effect on your life -- � the Golden Books --� and about whom you never would have learned otherwise.
-- Steve Miller
The New York Sun
Thank you for sharing this with us. Certainly a loss to the art world, yet he lived a long, rich, and obviously prolific life!
I absolutely love the Curvilinears. They remind me of fractals in some way, Dali creatures in others. I especially liked the Social Commentary section of the site which highlighted his artistic development; it was interesting to see his early works which clearly showed his interest in cubism, surrealism, and metaphysical painting. Great job on the site, by the way.
-- Erica Robyne
I will always miss Alton Tobey, but I don't think anyone could know him without being struck by how very special he was. There is a big void where he was, but the love for him will last forever. I met Alton Tobey 47 years ago when I was ten. In all those years I never heard a mean or impatient word come out of his mouth. . .although sometimes it was probably called for! Several years ago I was sitting in one of Mr. Tobey's classes admiring a portrait Alton was painting of Cardinal Cooke. Suddenly all the lights went out, at least on the block, perhaps throughout Larchmont. Everything went dark...except for the light shining on the portrait of the cardinal. That gave us all pause. . . Love to the family and friends who feel such a great loss. He will be missed every day.
-- Eleanor Metrick
It was with great sadness that we read about the death of muralist Alton Tobey. From 1991 through 1992, our Hastings Alternative High School students had the distinct pleasure to collaborate with Mr. Tobey as we planned, designed and painted our "Bill of Rights" mural. His tutelage provided us with the necessary guidance to produce our 4-foot by 24-foot mural. As his daughter aptly stated in the obituary, "He was always delving into new arenas." Mr. Tobey was a special individual and when those students come back to visit now as adults, they frequently mention the wonderful experience we shared working on the piece with such a unique man as Mr. Tobey. Respectfully submitted,
Art teacher and Project SHARE advisor
Hastings High School
Former HASP Director
current Assistant Principal
Hastings High School
When I was 50 years old (four years ago), I decided (with my twin brother Bill) to take oil painting lessons; and my father (Henry Pollak) recommended Alton, who had been his teacher. He was the most marvelous teacher I had ever had. He NEVER overtly criticized anything. He would look at my painting, say some nice things and then say "Well, that's a Plausable hand." And then he would tell me how to improve the hand I had painted. Three Years later, I was an Adjunct professor at F.I.T. Alton Tobey set the standard I used to try to achieve as a teacher. We all will miss his talent, his humor and his gentle spirit.
-- Tom Pollak
We are very sorry to learn of the death of our friend, Alton Tobey. I was fortunate to have taken art classes with him while our three children studied piano over the course of nearly two decades with their beloved Mrs. Tobey. We will never forget Mr. Tobey's twinkling eyes, his subtle humor and his quiet, gentle manner. We loved the regular tours he gave our family around the studio, explaining his works in progress. His art, together with Mrs. Tobey's music, will always resonate in our hearts. Please accept our condolences on your loss.
-- Rabbi and Mrs. Hershel Portnoy and children
I share your grief. It's a great loss for everyone. I will share this announcement with those among us who have worked with Alton.
-- Erik Lewis, Director LMCTV
Larchmont Mamaroneck Community Television
This is indeed sad news. Your father was not only an artist but a great scholar. I always enjoyed listening to him expound on so many subjects. He was so erudite! We will all miss him. Wasn't the party wonderful! So good that he had that last pleasure.
-- Phyllis Golding
It was a privilege to have my life enriched by such a rare and accomplished man, and I will carry his memory for the rest of my days.
-- Josh Vogel
More than 30 years ago I studied with Mr. Tobey. It was a privilege to have had the opportunity of knowing him, although it was for just a short time, but he left an indelible mark on my life and my art.
He was working on his mural of MacArthur at the time and I was, and still am, in awe of his limitless talent. My heartfelt sympathies to all his family and friends. I will never forget him.
With fondest wishes for all of you who were privileged to live in his aura,
-- Joyce Newman
Delray Beach, Florida
As we sat at the funeral service at Mamaroneck's Zion Memorial Chapel, temporarily adorned with just some of renowned artist Alton Tobey's works, Claire and Myron Meadow could not stop reminiscing about the wonderful, enriching experiences that both his late accomplished musician wife, Rosalind Tobey and Alton Tobey provided for their family.
As neighbors and good friends we shared a lot. Both of our daughters, Andrea Meadow Danziger of Larchmont and Roxanne Meadow Cohen of San Carlos, California took weekly piano lessons from Rosalind at the Tobey Larchmont home. Their fascinating home/studio became one of the Meadow childrens' favorite hangouts. Their little brother, Aaron Meadow would sit on the top rung of the steps to Alton's basement studio, watching and chatting as Alton would continue painting such monumental works as the "Medal of Honor" a tribute to the generations of American servicemen which now hangs as a mural for all who visit the U.S.S. Intrepid to see.
Myron Meadow, who like Alton, was a staunch admirer of Albert Einstein loved viewing the multiple Einstein portraits done by Tobey. Alton was on a pier, sketching. He felt someone behind him and in turning around realized that it was Albert Einstein. He was docking his boat there. Tobey asked if he could sketch him and Einstein in a thick German accent answered "yes" and then sat for three different sessions over three days. Einstein, upon seeing the finished work said "great, if I ever fail at being a physicist then at least I know I can be an artist model."
Claire, literally says "good morning" to Alton each day she enters the County Courthouse in White Plains and passes his mural "Roots of Westchester". The mural depicts the history of Westchester with some of its past leaders. Some who are depicted in the mural are our first President George Washington, past president Franlink Delano Roosevelt, Governor Mario Cuomo and County Executive Andrew O'Rourke.
Like the Meadows, Alton had an abiding love for Israel. They will always treasure the mural plate from Tobey entitled "The Promised Land". Tobey created it in honor of Israel's 30th Anniversary of Statehood. His memory will be an inspiration and blessing to our family, our community, Americans and the world. We are honored to have known him.
-- Claire & Myron Meadow
One impression - When I came over your house at 13 or 14 years of age after school on meeting Mr. Tobey and the ambiance of your house was that one, I had never met an �artist� before, and an abstract artist as well � ("The Curvilinears") and that he had a quality of seriousness and compassion about him that I had never encountered before. And he was also a person that met this 13 year old as a person or I would say a �being�. And the active word there is �met�. . .softly met and all the while into his work. I went on to be very involved and captivated by the act of "seeing" and modern art.
-- Ruth Kissane, CA
We were saddened to receive word of Tobey's death but are consoled by the memory of the wonderfully fitting gathering in November in celebration of his birthday. He had a passion for life and for his art that will speak forever through the works he leaves.
-- Joan and Lou Boccardi
I want to express my sympathy to you from me and my family. We all loved Uncle Alton. I am glad that my children had a chance to know him and see his work. It was wonderful to be able to see him at his 90th birthday party last November.
-- Simms Pearl
It is with profound sadness that I learned of Alton's death. I am profoundly aware that his last years were greatly comforted by the loving care of his children and grandchildren. In the absence of Roz, you made life tolerable for him and helped celebrate his great talent and gifts to Art. Pax vobiscum.
Love to all.
-- Sylvia Golomb
We are in Florida and just received your message about Tobey's passing. We send our heartfelt condolences to all of you. Since we will not be home until Jan. 22nd, we will not be able to attend the funeral services, but our thoughts and prayers are with you. We are grateful that we were able to celebrate his 90th birthday, and we shall always remember him as a wonderful, remarkable gentleman. Our fondest wishes to you all. Love,
-- Barbara and Hal Baron
Teddy Greene introduced us many years ago. I have always been in awe of his work. His talent will be missed in our society.
-- Nannette Daley
I remember looking forward to long conversations about many topics with Alton when I visited Moira and David. He had a great sense of humor and he could discuss any topic. He enjoyed people.
-- Bea Pasciuti
I am so sad to learn that Mr. Tobey has died. I took piano lessons with Mrs. Tobey for 10 years, beginning in 1978 when I was 7 years old. I attended every Father's Day piano recital in the Tobey home through 1999 when my younger of 2 brothers (both of whom also studied with Mrs. Tobey) performed in his last recital there.
Through all those years I loved and looked forward to talking with Mr. Tobey (the name I have always known him by, even into my adult years, and when I introduced him to my own daughter). From the time I was 8 or 9 years old, when I was waiting during my brother�s lessons, I have enjoyed many long conversations with Mr. Tobey. He always spoke to me with the attention and respect he would give a "grown-up". Mr. Tobey was the one person who valued me for who I was, and not because my father was the rabbi of a congregation in the community. He guided me on many tours around his art, explaining to me his techniques, and then he listened to my ideas that I had about doing my own art. I learned to take myself seriously because of how Mr. Tobey would listen to me as we exchanged our ideas.
When I learned that Alton Tobey was in fact a �famous artist� I felt so proud and privileged for having my own special relationship with him, and every time I have come across another of his works or the mention of his name I relive those feelings. I have always missed my visits to the Tobey house, and my talks with Mr. Tobey. When my daughter was born, I could not wait to bring her to the Tobeys because I knew they would understand and share in my pride in her.
I think about them so often; whenever I would drive by their house I would think about stopping by to say hello, and occasionally did. After years of my pointing it out, my daughter is now the one who remarks, �There�s the Tobeys� house!� I hope you know and take comfort in how many of us there are out there � we have heard about you as you grew up, and got married, and had children, and achieved many accomplishments. There are big parts of us that were formed and nourished by these two very special people. You do not know us personally, but know that there are many who share your loss, and also your love for them. There will always be a very special place in my heart for both Mr. and Mrs. Tobey. Fondly,
-- Leah Portnoy Worenklein
I am so sorry. I met Mr. Tobey a couple of times, and he was always very gracious. Please extend my sympathies to the family.
-- Charles Taft
I was saddened to hear of Alton Tobey's passing. As I got to "know" him, through your excellent website, I came to feel he was a kind, generous and humorous soul. The world will be a poorer place without him.
-- Shelley Esaak, Editor
About Art History
I met Alton Tobey once at his show at the West Hartford Jewish Community Center. In the 20 minutes we spoke, my wife and I felt he was like a member of the family. In a way, he was. My dad's family grew up in Middletown, on Loveland Street. My aunt Janetta, now 91 or 92, tells us that she helped alton with his English homework when they were in grammar school together. I think she must have been in the next grade. She had fine memories of him, before his family moved away.
Realizing my father knew Alton, my mother arranged for our fathers once again to meet 45 or 50 years later when my mom commissioned Tobey to paint a life-size portrait of Moses for our synagogue (Congregation Adath Israel, in Middletown) in memory of her best friend. I can only imagine my dad's shock when told that they were going to visit Alton in NY
After my dad's passing in '99, as we were cleaning out the accumulated holiday/birthday cards, the ones my siblings and I put aside were (the holiday cards Alton created ) of you and your brother. (If mom kept them for all those years, we would continue the tradition!) We watched you kids grow up, as we did. (We're 45, 48, 49, and 50, now.) Every year, your family would make a holiday appearance, and it was something we all looked forward to.
I know I speak for all my family: a wonderful man has gone to G-d. I can only imagine what a reunion must be going on!
-- David Palmer, son of Lawrence & Florence Palmer
Alton is part of my childhood. He is like a second dad. I grew up down in his studio, watching him paint, listening to him crack dry, low key jokes and receiving an education about the history behind his paintings as I sat crouched on the steps with my best friend, his daughter, Judy. My memories of Alton will always be a part of me. Although he has passed away, he will live on for me through his paintings and my memories of his gentle, intelligent waters that ran deep. I will always have a fondness in my heart for him and all that he gave me, whether he knew it or not.
I can remember countless Halloweens where Judy and I would be on those studio steps brainstorming with Alton about what our next creative homemade Halloween costume would be. And he inevitably would lend a creative hand in helping us make them. We came up with whole carnival designs and plans to benefit a chartity on those steps with Alton. We would later run the carnivals in either Judy's or my backyard and donate the proceeds to various charities, feeling proud about our contribution. In empowering ways, Alton nurtured our sense of creativity and accomplishment.
Those steps, that studio was like our sanctuary. When things got tough in our child-world, we would leave it all and go down into the studio of magic, creativity and gentle understanding that Alton always offered us. Just being with him, was calming and left us feeling that all would be well. More than that, when we left our sanctuary, we would emerge upstairs, into the world a little lighter and more hopeful and ready to take on the world.
Our sanctuary with Alton was more than a small underground place to replenish our souls, it gave us a glimpse into a bigger world that was full of possibilites. Seeing Alton's paintings about subjects and scenes from all over the world, that depicted pieces of history showed us a world beyond our childhood terrain. He let us see that we too, could stretch our legs and our imaginations and venture out into a world that was rich with adventure.
To Alton's adult children, I am sorry for the loss of your dad. I can only imagine what a loss it is. I hope that your memories of him live on, helping to ease your pain and giving you growing joy as you acknowledge that he will always be a part of you. With fondness, your friend,
-- Cassondra (Pammy) Graff
It is a tragic loss the day we lost Uncle Alton. I want to express my deepest sympathies to your family. The best memories I have of Uncle Alton is sitting and watching him paint in his studio, and receiving presents from Auntie Roz whenever she returned from her trips to Mexico. My mother always spoke with a certain fondness and loving recollection whenever she talked about her uncle. The world has lost a hero that will never be forgotten. He will be greatly missed.
-- Casey Leish
To the Family of Alton Tobey: I did not know your father, grandfather, brother, friend; but after seeing and reading this web site, I want to say thank you for sharing him with the rest of the world. I wanted to wish you all the best at this the worst of times. All my sympathy from a fellow artist, mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, friend; my name is meaningless but I will sign off with it.
-- Sara Reid
My Dad went to school with Alton in Hartford. Attached is a scan of a photograph of, what I believe to be, the Freshman class at Hartford Public High School in 1928. My Dad told me of Alton's talent when I was a teenager. He collected many of the drawings Alton had done for Life Magazine. These are now lost. My Dad, Roy Knott, passed away in 1992. I extend my sympathies to the Tobey family. Best Regards,
-- Gil Knott
Though I never had the pleasure to meet Alton Tobey in person, a quick view of the website in his honor, has brought back to me many fine memories of time spent in the main library of Saugus, Massachusetts and the libraries of the schools of that same time, looking in awe at his work in the Golden Book series on history and the images from Life magazine.
I must admit, at such a young age, I did not readily associate Mr. Tobey's name with the work. I can assure you though, that viewing them at such a time, that they are forever a part of me; and have, in their own way, been an inspiration to me in my work. I don't paint the same type of images, but there have been three constants in my life: history, sports and art. His work helped to inspire me in these areas, and for that, I am truly thankful. God rest dear sir. To his family and friends, and those who loved him, my sincere sympathies and condolences. Respectfully,
-- Jeff Fioravanti, CPS, PPSCC, PSA
Painting the Soul of America
The concert held by the Westchester Musicians Guild on Sunday, January 9, 2005 was dedicated to the memory of Alton Tobey. He was a music lover, a special friend of the Westchester Musicians Guild, and husband of our beloved member, the late Rosalyn Tobey. Dorothy Aaron spoke most eloquently and movingly at the beginning of the concert of her admiration for Alton Tobey and his philosophy.
-- Terry Wager
I was very sorry to read of the passing of your dad, and I wanted to extend my condolences to you both. Now that I live in Larchmont again with my family, I think fondly of yours every time I pass the house on Murray/Weaver. I remember piano lessons with your mom (do I remember correctly a magic glass wall that came up from the ground to close off that part of the house??!!), and annual holiday cards done by your dad in pencil with everyone pictured including the cat. My parents were always fond of your mom & dad and had great respect for their talents. I haven�t seen you Judy since I think our chance meeting on a plane bound for Colorado (!) but I would hope to soon. If you are in Larchmont, please visit us (we opened a restaurant in the former Carl�s, so we are easy to find!).
Please know that we are thinking of your dad and will continue to keep the memory of your parents alive in Larchmont.
-- Wendy Weinstein
Finally, with a moment to pause and reflect, I find myself aching to see them together again, my Aunt Roz and Uncle Tobey, like Ozzie and Harriet, a couple whose names just went together like bread and butter. I find myself wondering, did I ever fully realize the depth of Uncle Tobey's knowledge and talent, the creativity of his mind, the kindness of his soul? We were so often busy giggling, speaking in silly voices, filling out mad libs---or was I busy feeling left out 'cause I was the youngest and hadn't a clue about life, yet. But you know what? I think I DID know that because Uncle Tobey's energy filled up a room with warmth and wisdom and in his company, we all were taught how to question, how to think and how to grow.
And so, I join the many others, who will miss our dear Tobey, but who feel blessed to have known him, and his exceptional, talented children.
-- Lisa Namerow
I am a letter carrier at the Main St. East Hartford Post Office. In the lobby of our post office is a mural of Mr. Tobey's. It is of the first settlers to land in Hartford, Ct. from the Connecticut River. It was during an Art History class at Manchester Community College that I learned of the American Realist Painters, Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton. During the Depression, artists were paid to paint murals and paintings for the government buildings, and Mr. Tobey was one. Reading over the remembrances I came to appreciate those who knew him and see what a good man he was. My condolences to his family and friends. I, myself, am lucky to be able to look at Mr. Tobey's mural every day at work.
-- Stephen Curtis
Alton Tobey was a mench of the highest calibre and I am blessed to have known him. After Roz died, I would give Tobey lots of hugs, a kiss when I arrived and left, and would spend lots of time holding his hand, whether we were conversing or just sitting together. At the time, it seemed like so little, but looking back, our time together means so much.
I remember visiting him once when Martha, his loving caregiver, was not there, and he wanted to show me another part of Sarah Neuman, so the substitute caregiver, Tobey and I went into another part of Sarah Neuman that I'd not been in before. Then Tobey wanted me to see the underground passageway, which was amazing, and we ended up back near the front area.
I always had fun when I was with Roz and Tobey, but after Roz died, those times with Tobey became so precious. As he was so much older than I am, I decided one day to ask him if he had any words of wisdom to pass on to me and his words were, "Take time every day to love and appreciate your spouse."
When he was at Yale, he was on the boxing team, and even during my last visit with him, his grip was strong like an iron man! Quite a man!
-- Kathryn Caywood
I have such fond memories of Alton, his kindness, his gentleness and his pride of you. I feel so fortunate to have known him and even though my time spent with him was limited, I am honored to have known such a kind man and humbled to have known such a gifted artist. We will forever cherish the portrait that hangs in our home that he painted.
I am especially sorry, now, that we were unable to attend his 90th Birthday Party in NY. What a wonderful tribute you put together for him on the website. After receiving the birthday invitation, I visited the site and viewed his complete lifetime of work that you have compiled. What an amazing man.
I wonder if your father had any idea how proud of him you were and how your love for him would always shine through your eyes whenever you spoke of him. My deepest sympathy to you, dear friend. Love,
-- Jackie Kempf
I'm so sorry about the loss of your father. I can begin to feel the depth of my own pain over his passing so I can only imagine how more intense your sorrow must be. I have been privileged to know your father during this lifetime for about 40 years. He was instrumental to my formation as not just an artist, but as a person.
Your father use to speak about his mortality and say this, "I hope that someday they will just find me slumped over my palette."
I can only imagine that within the universe of his mind that he was indeed creating at the moment he passed. What that greatest of all his masterpieces actually was will remain in this lifetime an illusive mystery. I'm sure that as we rejoin with him one by one the nature of his most mature work will be revealed to us and we will bask in the light of his divine genius.
He spent his life illuminating and illustrating the glories of our world. Our holy places, the vast diversities of the family of man, our discoveries, our hopes and our dreams. He did this as his devoted wife and your mother serenaded him with her renditions of the most gifted composers. They were quit a team. They lived a sublime life, and they left us with immense treasures. But with all of their accomplishments the greatest treasure that they left us of their mortal lives are the two of you. I thank God for the greatest creations of Roz and Alton Tobey: Judy and David. All my heartfelt sympathy and deepest love,
-- Martie Weilgus
Media coverage on the death of Alton S. Tobey, can be seen at:
The New York Times
The New York Sun article by Steve Miller
The White Plains Citizen Net Reporter
The Larchmont Gazette
Artists You Should Know at About.com
Artists in 60 Seconds at About.com
PR Web Newswire
The Westchester County Business Journal
Weblog by Michael Bierut at Designobserver.com
Articles on Tobey's death also appeared in The Journal News, The Los Angeles Times, The Hartford Courant, New Age Media Concepts newsroom, and other news media; but these publications have either removed articles from their websites, or require a paid subscription to access articles from their archives, so no links to them are available. To send and post your own message, email us here. [ RETURN TO HOME PAGE ]
The Alton Tobey Collection
Judith Tobey, David Tobey; Directors
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