Theo was born in Israel of Lithuanian parents. Before he turned seven, his family moved to Paris due to financial difficulties. In Paris, Theo felt like a fish out of water. He didn't quite fit in.
Between the years of 1942 and 1944, the Germans occupied Paris . He and his family were forced to live in solitary confinement with the constant fear of being discovered. The only things that kept Theo sane were his books and his drawings. By the time it was safe to come out of hiding, he had quite a portfolio put together.
He attributes his works to his real life experiences. He believes that because of these experiences, he has reached a place of perfect contentment and harmony. This is apparent in his works through the use of colors and textures.
In 1950 Theo moved to Nice where he continued to paint. He
had his first
In 1960, his work was noticed at an exhibition of young artists
at the Palais de la Mediterranee in Nice and he won first prize.
From then on art galleries and collectors continued to show
interest in his work and by 1962 Theo 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. It was in Nice,
the city he had adopted on leaving Paris, that his pictorial
expression came into its own. Initially profane and close to
certain bestiaries, his subjects rapidly evolved towards reminiscences
about his childhood: buses that he had caught sight of on his
journey to France, boats with wheels on the Nieman in Lithuania,
tea kettles, the warmth of the fireside, the trains when he
arrived in Paris at dawn, the smokiness of railway stations,
etc. All of these symbols were combined, quite extraordinarily,
with Biblical or erotic fantasies and also with the theme of
exile which had become his main interest over the previous few
years. Often visible in his more recent work, the theme of exile
took on a more dramatic dimension when it began to encompass
not only past and present exiles, but the fear of exiles still
to come. This background subject, currently his main preoccupation,
is woven out of women, children, crowds, but also candelabra,
which represent the glow of hope. Since 1980, Theo Tobiasse
has travelled a great deal in the United States. On a detour,
via Mexico, he discovered the impressive Aztec sites of the
Yucatan, whose sculptures and engraved stones left their mark
on him for a certain period. Fascinated by New York, he decided
to find a place where he could work for several months every
year. Thus, he now divides his time between St. Paul-de-Vence
and New York. Many exhibitions and one-man shows have been held
throughout the world, providing milestones for his work that
is to be found in the catalogues of many International museums.
Theo Tobiasse has created monumental works such as the fountain
entitled "L'Enfant fou" for the Arenas 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 filled
many sketchbooks, some of which have been published, and created
illustrated works for lovers of fine books, plus etchings and
engravings. Theo 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 Theo Tobiasse's