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ALTON  S. TOBEY

The Thomasville Mural

 
"The Biography of Thomas County and Thomasville"

(CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE FOR A LARGER VIEW & USE YOUR BROWSER'S 'BACK' BUTTON TO RETURN TO THIS PAGE)

          In 1992, the Thomas County Public Library in Thomasville, Georgia was seeking an artist to create a mural that would show important facets of the history and tradition of Thomas County and of its county seat at Thomasville, which had been a main resort community in the late 19th century, prior to the extension of railroad services into the state of Florida. Tobey, with his extensive experience in historical research, and his accomplishments as a muralist for the Smithsonian Institution and other national organizations was chosen to complete the project.

 
       After extensive consultation with town, county and other historical experts, Tobey embarked upon the creation of the 9 x 10 foot mural at his studio and home in Larchmont, New York, which was possible owing to the ten-foot ceilings in his working area.

 
Tobey and members of the Mural Committee at the unveiling

        A 310 year old Oak was chosen as the central image for the mural, around and under which all other aspects of the composition were placed. Under the arms of the tree can be seen the Village of Thomasville in 1885, painted in monochrome. The muted middle years show the passing of the stage coach, the steam engine, and the plantations, hotels and homes in the community.
      Visits by Presidents McKinley, Eisenhower, Carter, the renouned pianist Arthur Rubenstein, and the community's modern medical center, Archbold Hospital, all form parts of the composition.

 

          This mural was one of Tobey's favorites, since the patrons who commissioned it were particularly interested in emphasizing the importance of education for the young people in their community to secure for them a future that had been as illustrious as Thomasville's and Thomas County's past.

 

 

         It was for this reason that the two detailed parts of the mural about education, shown above, were placed in the forefront of the canvas, and painted in colors significantly brighter and more vivid than other subjects in the painting.

         In a September 1993 testimonial letter received by Tobey and signed by all the members of the mural committee some time after it's completion, the committee noted:

          "We have now had time to assess the impact on the Community of your magnificent Historical Mural handiwork hanging in our new Library in Thomasville.

         "You only have to stand back and watch the faces light up as library patrons turn and catch sight of the magnificent wall painting for the first time. They are invariably drawn to it for further study and deep contemplation. The important thing is that they bring their children back to see it.

          "Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your grand effort on behalf of past, present and future generations. . . "

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The Alton Tobey Collection

Judith Tobey, David Tobey; Directors

All copy & images on this website copyright � Alton Tobey 2004 et al.
No part of this site may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publishers.