, or Tobias Eidesas, who was born on April 26th, 1927 in Jaffa, Israel, then in Mandatory Palestine, and died on November 3rd, 2012 in Cagnes-sur-Mer in France, is a French artist, painter, sculptor and plastic artist.
Younger son of Chaïm Eidesas and Brocha Slonimsky, who were originally from Kaunus in Lithuania, Théo Tobiasse was born in Israel, then under the Palestine mandate, in 1927, where his Jewish parents had lived since 1925, far from the threat of the pogroms and the political upheavals of Eastern Europe. The family met with financial difficulties and decided to return to Lithuania, after which they finally left for Paris in 1931 where Théo’s father, a typographer, found work in a Russian printing works.
Very early on Théo Tobiasse showed he had a gift for drawing and painting, and during a visit to the Universal Exhibition in 1937 at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, he was overwhelmed by La Fée Electricité by Raoul Dufy
The death of his mother in June 1939, followed by the outbreak of the Second World War, the German Occupation, the obligation to wear a yellow star and the refusal by the authorities at « l’École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs » to accept him for racial reasons, all combined to completely upset his life. He put his name down for private classes in advertising drawing on the boulevard Saint Michel, but gave these up nine months later because his family, who only just escaped from the round-up at the Winter Velodrome on July 16th 1942, had to hide in their flat in Paris for two years. At the Liberation of Paris, he rapidly begain a career as an advertising graphic designer at the art printer Draeger’s, and also made tapestry cartoons, theatre sets and shop window designs for Hermes on the rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré.
Théo having obtained French nationality in 1950, a vital need for light, the sea and the sky after the darkness of the sombre years of the Nazi occupation, made the family decide to leave Paris and settle in Nice where he continued his career as a graphic designer, in particular at the Havas Agency.