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This portrait of two philosophers in conversation is a rare figurative work from Mark Tobey, one of the founders of the American Mystical school of painting. The two figures, who look like Greek philosophers or figures from mythology, reflect Tobey’s interest in ancient traditions and knowledge, spirituality, and allegory, and are rendered in characteristically delicate strokes.
John Cage once said of going on a walk with Mark Tobey: “It was the first time that someone else had given me a lesson in looking without prejudice, someone who didn’t compare what he was seeing with something before, who was sensitive to the finest nuances of light. Tobey would stop on the sidewalks, sidewalks which we normally didn’t notice when we were walking, and his gaze would immediately turn them into a work of art. He was attentive to the slightest detail. For him, everything was alive. He had an extraordinary sense of the presence of things.
Dialogue Between Ancients, 1973
Lithograph, signed and numbered in pencil
Image: 12.5 x 8 in.
Paper 26 x 20 in. / 66.04 x 50.8 cm
Edition of 45, this copy 41/45. Signed and numbered by the artist with pencil.