Mark Turbyfill papers

Inclusive Dates: 
Survey Repository: 

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

2.6 linear feet (3 boxes and 1 oversize box) of material relating to the life and career of dancer, poet and painter Mark Turbyfill, including three copies of his unpublished autobiography and many copies of published and unpublished poems, as well as articles and reviews by and about Turbyfill, a few pieces of correspondence, clippings, dance programs, photographs, a cassette tape of him reading, and a published genealogy of the Turbyfill family. Since Turbyfill was famously active in Chicago artistic and creative circles in the early part of the twentieth century, the autobiography/memoir is particularly interesting. Among the individuals he writes about is American painter Mark Tobey.

Biographical Historical Note

Mark Turbyfill was a Chicago dancer, poet and painter. Turbyfill was an established dancer and poet when in the 1940s he began to concentrate on painting. His initial paintings and collages showed a strong surrealist influence, but he moved on to a style of abstract expressionism, which he practiced until the 1970s. Turbyfill’s first solo exhibit was in 1948, and in the 1950s and 1960s he had a number of one-man gallery shows. Seeing continuity in all his creative endeavors, at times he utilized texts lifted from his own poetry in both figurative and abstract paintings and drawings.