Bio: Théo Tobiasse
Tobiasse was born in Israel in 1927, of parents who
had just arrived from Lithuania. Confronted by insurmountable
material difficulties, the family returned to Kovno
when Tobiasse was still a very young child, then settled
in Paris where his father, a typographer, hoped to
find work. Tobiasse will never forget his first impression
of the City of Light. Just six years old, he saw it
bathed in the grayish mist of a sad winter morning
when they walked out of the "Glare de l'Est"
after an exhausting journey that had lasted several
days. From this very first contact, his Parisian landscapes
would keep an aura of unreality and nostalgia, which
accounts for much of the charm of his paintings. His
work also owes the atmosphere of exile which envelopes
it entirely to that never-ending train journey experienced
by a little boy forced to leave the familiar banks
of the Nieman.
On account of the occupation of Paris by German troops,
he spent his adolescence shut up with his parents
in their tiny apartment from July 1942 to August 1944.
When Tobiasse finally saw daylight, he soon found
employment with various advertising companies. He
designed and created window displays of luxury goods
on the Faubourg St-Honoré, and designed several
tapestry patterns for the "Salon de l'Imagerie".
Tobiasse created designs for advertising, first in
Paris, then in Nice, where he moved in 1950. As soon
as he could, and often at night, he painted. In 1960,
his work was noticed at an exhibition of young artists
at the Palais de la Méditerranée in
Nice and he won first prize. From then on art galleries
and collectors continued to show interest in his work
and by 1962 Tobiasse was finally able to devote himself
entirely to painting.
In 1970, he moved into his studio on Quai Rauba-Capeu,
overlooking the Port of Nice. In 1976 he moved again
to St. Paul-de-Vence where he rediscovered both the
sky of Jerusalem and that of Florence.
Tobiasse has created monumental works such as the
fountain entitled "L'Enfant fou" for the
Arénas Business Centre at Nice Airport, and
stained-glass windows for various institutions in
Strasbourg and Nice.
He also designed costumes and stage-set models for
Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion". He has filed
many sketchbooks, some of which have been published,
and created illustrated works for lovers of fine books,
plus etchings and engravings.
Tobiasse also discovered a passion for ceramics, producing
pottery and dishes, as well as a series of small bronze
sculptures. Several monographs have been published
on Tobiasse's work.