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"A More Perfect Union" - Mural by Alton S. Tobey
"A More Perfect Union" - The Signing of the Constitution Mural by Alton S. Tobey commissioned by Chief Justice Burger for the 1987 Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution

Alton S. Tobey, Artist and Historian

Longtime Larchmont resident, Alton S. Tobey is nationally known for his murals, many of them are stirring panoramas depicting themes from American history. His works are in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, the Metropolitan Opera Gallery, Museum of the City of New York, West Point Museum, and corporate, government and library collections. Tobey claims he has painted every major event in American history; 300 of his paintings were published in the 12 volume series of Golden Book of American History.

His mural, A More Perfect Union, was commissioned by Chief Justice Warren Burger to commemorate the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. Another mural Equal Justice Under Law, shows sixteen Justices of the Supreme Court. Tobey says he enjoys the academic research in preparing his murals, which he describes as "operatic affairs-elements harnessed to a single idea to produce an emotional effect." He painted a 45-foot mural on the wall of the County Courthouse in White Plains, The Roots of Westchester, so that the children of Westchester would understand and appreciate where they live. The mural contains references and figures important to Westchester history, some of these are depictions of George Washington, Henry Hudson's ship, Indian wigwams, the first national flag, and Thomas Paine.

Born around 1912, Tobey is also an acclaimed portraitist, who has captured the visages of Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, General Douglas MacArthur, Arturo Toscanini, Golda Meir, Robert Frost, and many others. Tobey received his B.A. and M.A. in Fine Arts from Yale University, where he once taught art history. His art is not always realistic. He has practiced a style he calls curvilinear, which eliminates all straight lines and is essentially two dimensional, another he has used is "fragments," which captured portions of a visage "to capture an essence revealing the extraordinary that lurks within the ordinary."

Documentation includes printed copies and facsimiles of his murals and portraits, and newspaper articles.

Originally submitted by: Nita M. Lowey,Representative (18th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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