Schneebaum, Tobias

Alternative names
Birth 1922
Death 2005-09-20

Biographical notes:

Tobias Schneebaum was born in 1922 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. During World War II he served in the Army as a radar mechanic, and after the war studied art under Tamayo, under whose suggestion he went to Mexico for three and a half years' painting, teaching and developing an increasing interest in archaeology and anthropology. He graduated from the City College of New York and received a degree in cultural anthropology from Goddard College. In 1955 he was granted a Fulbright Fellowship to study painting in Peru, and it was during this time that he encountered for the first time the world of uncivilized tribes that would become his passion. After a year in the Peruvian jungle, Schneebaum returned to civilization with stories that he recounted in his first book Keep the River on Your Right. During his lifetime he has traveled widely throughout Europe, Asia and Africa, always choosing the back roads, away from civilization. Tobias Schneebaum is the author of Keep the River on Your Right, Wild Man and Where the Spirits Dwell, which together form his autobiographical trilogy. From 1973 to 1983 he served as Assistant Curator of the Asmat Museum of Culture and Progress in Irian Jaya, Indonesia. Since then he has lectured widely and curated several exhibitions on Asmat art, including teaching at the New School for Social Research. Keep the River on Your Right was adapted to a major motion picture which was released in 2001. Schneebaum currently resides in New York with his partner Joel Singer.

From the description of Tobias Schneebaum papers, 1942-2002. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 320798882


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  • Anthropology
  • Gay men
  • Asmat (Indonesian people)
  • Art, Asmat


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  • Indonesia (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • South America (as recorded)