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The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts

Mark Tobey

Mark Tobey, Dem Licht Entgegen (Toward the Light), ca. 1930

Mark Tobey (American, 1890-1976)
Dem Licht Entgegen (Toward the Light) ca. 1930
Oil on canvas
Museum purchase with funds provided by the Edward J. Gallagher, Jr. Memorial Fund
1981.011.001

Mark Tobey is most known for his “white writing” paintings, which are characterized by a field of intricate and delicate overlapping pale lines. As he explained, he wanted these paintings to inspire a “higher state of consciousness.”

While stylistically very different, Dem Licht Entgegen shows his early interest in the connections between painting and spirituality. Although no specific faith is referenced in this painting, the title and movement of the people towards the light suggest a religious rapture or spiritual awakening.