Painter and founder of the Northwest School whose mystical artwork was inspired by Asian art forms. Created white writing, which led to the all-over painting style.
He briefly attended the Art Institute of Chicago from 1906 until 1908. However, he was mainly self-taught.
He was introduced to the art of Chinese calligraphy by Chinese painter and University of Washington student Teng Kuei.
He was the youngest child of carpenter and house builder George Tobey. He was raised a Congregationalist. He lived with Pehr Hallsten for nearly three decades.
His painting "Bars and Flails" inspired "Blue Poles," Jackson Pollock's famous work.