Théo Tobiasse (French, 1927-2012)
Also known as: Tobiasse, TheoBirth Place: Jaffa, Israel
Who is painter Theo Tobiasse?
Theo Tobiasse was a French painter, a master of the Paris School, and widely regarded as one of the greats of 20th-century expressionism. His subjects often focused on men, women, and religious iconography -- universal enough that his work was able to travel successfully throughout the western art world as well as Japan. Tobiasse was a bit of an enigma, an extremely private man who put small Yiddish phrases on his canvas before obscuring them with paint or collage.
Tobiasse’s work was extremely well regarded in his adopted home country of France and his work is even prominently featured in a chapel in southern France -- joining other French masters with chapels like Matisse and Jean Cocteau. He mounted several solo exhibitions in his lifetime and broadened the scope of his work to include fountains, stain glass, and even costume designs for a production of Pygmalion. Tobiasse is a singular figure in the world of 20th-century French art.
What kind of art did Theo Tobiasse make?
Theo Tobiasse was a painter in the expressionist movement but also experimented with sculpture, stained glass, and even costume design. Overwhelmingly, he was famous for his paintings of French men and women, often including a heavy dose of religion in his pieces. That isn’t to say that Tobiasse’s pieces were stuffy. They often explored themes of eroticism, guilt, and even exile. These themes may have come from Tobiasse’s own tumultuous early life, which saw him flee from Nazis for much of the 1930s and 1940s. Tobiasse was open about his influence, saying that almost all of his work was inspired by real-life experience, though he was often curiously quiet when interviewed about his personal life. Tobiasse chose to let his art speak for him.
How did painter Theo Tobiasse get started?
Theo Tobiasse was born in 1927 in Israel. Both of his parents were Lithuanian. At an early age, Tobiasse’s parents moved to Paris to seek work and relief from their financial difficulties. During the 1940s, when Germany occupied Paris, Tobiasse and his family were forced to live inside so as to not be discovered by the Nazis. It was during this time that Tobiasse poured himself into his books and drawings. At the end of the war, Tobiasse had a large collection of his own paintings to exhibit. In the 1950s, Tobiasse moved to Nice -- but it wouldn’t be until 1961 when he won the grand prize at the Palais de la Mediterranee that his work would burst onto the French art scene. After, he would be able to make a living, fully dedicating himself to his art and principles of aesthetics.
How much are Theo Tobiasse paintings worth?
A Theo Tobiasse piece can sell for anywhere from around $700 up to over $60,000 at auction. Tobiasse’s pieces are small, personal, and highly collected by a large community of art collectors. The most ever paid for a Theo Tobiasse painting at auction is $66,100 for the piece The Four Sons of the Hagadda (date unknown) which sold on June 30th, 2009. Even though this was significantly less than the estimated prices, much of Tobiasse’s work has heavily outperformed even the high estimates at auction -- making him a good investment for many art collectors.
Where to buy Theo Tobiasse paintings for sale?
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How to value Theo Tobiasse paintings?
The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services Department.
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