Tobey was from Wisconsin and moved to Chicago and became an illustrator. His fine art career began when he moved to New York City. Tobey also spent time in London and Seattle, the former as a teacher.
Tobey was involved in a mid 20th Century art controversy; a sort of Biggie Vs. Tupac of the art world (except to my knowledge there was no gunplay). Tobey created a technique he called "white writing" in his experimental, abstract pieces. This style appeared around the same time Jackson Pollock appeared on the art scene. For the record Tobey's exhibition at Willard Gallery (NYC) was before Pollock began exhibiting his abstract paintings.
Pousette-Dart was another early, influential Abstract Expressionist, who was born in the Midwest (St. Paul, MN). He moved to New York City. Unlike many of his compatriots he had no formal art training. Willard Gallery and Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century gallery showed his art. He was a major contributor to the Abstract Expressionist movement.
In 1951 he left the city for Rockland County where he lived the rest of his life. Pousette-Dart wanted his work to have some distance from Abstract Expressionism. He died in 1992.