Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mark Tobey: Excerpts from Two Robert Gardner Films

Filmmaker Robert Gardner made two short films about American painter Mark Tobey, one in 1952, and one in 1973, at the end of the artist's life.  Documentary Educational Resources, from whom both films are available for purchase on DVD, has posted  a short clip of each film online, below.  

This first clip is from 1973's Mark Tobey Abroad, a 28-minute film shot in Basel, Switzerland, where Tobey was living at the time.  Tobey, who was born in 1890, would have been about 83.

About the film, DER's website reads, "With remarkable candor and objectivity, Tobey discusses his work and that of fellow artists, including Picasso.  His keen wit lends humor and bite to his critiques, and his own vitality and spirit make an important statement on his work and on art itself." 

This second clip is from Gardner's 1952 film, Mark Tobey.  Originally titled Mark Tobey: Artist and shot in 16mm, the 19-minute film was shown in festivals in Venice and Edinburgh when it was released.  Tobey, who wrote the music and script, lived in Seattle at the time it was made, and would have been about 62.  

As the DER website explains, the film "tries to show in cinematic language how this man looked at the world;  Tobey himself both performs and is observed.  A unique film in the Gardner oeuvre, the film not only presents an experimental portrait of Tobey, but serves as a window into the American art, avant garde film, and poetic movements of this period."  

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