MAX WEBER: THE PIONEER OF CUBISM IN AMERICA
Bringing the knowledge of Parisian avant-garde, including its dynamism, abstraction and emotion, to the burgeoning circle of American modernists, the Russian-born American painter, printmaker and sculptor, Max Weber, is famous for introducing European art movements as Fauvism and Cubism to the United States.
Celebrated as one of the first American Cubist painters, Weber was born on April 18, 1881, in the Polish city of Bialystok, then part of the Russian Empire. In 1891, he immigrated to New York city with his parents and studied from 1898 to 1900 at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn with the renowned teacher Arthur Wesley Dow. From 1901 to 1905, Weber taught art at public schools in Lynchburg, Virginia and Duluth, Minnesota.
In September 1905, Weber moved to Paris and studied at the Académie Julian under Jean Paul Laurence, the Académie Colarossi, and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. In 1908, he participated in a small class at Henri Matisse’s newly opened academy. While in Paris, Weber became a regular at the Salon of Leo and Gertrude Stein and formed friendships with the artists Henri Rousseau and Pablo Picasso.
Upon returning to New York in 1909, Weber became part of the city's avant-garde circle and was one of the exhibitors at Alfred Stieglitz’s “291” gallery. Between 1909 and 1917 he painted manybof his best-known pictures, including the Fauvist- inspired “The Geranium” (1911) and “Chinese Restaurant” (1915), a work created in the Synthetic Cubist manner. During this period he favored subjects such as skyscrapers and city interiors. In his figure studies, Weber expressed the dynamism of the American city by fragmenting objects in motion.
After 1917, Weber's work became increasingly representational, but he continued to be fascinated with the exploration of color and form. During the last 20 years of his career many of his paintings were based on Jewish subject matter, especially Hasidic themes.
Like many immigrant artist during the 1930s, Weber became active in socialist causes and, in 1937, served as national chairman of the America Artists' Congress, an antifascist artists' group. In addition to being an artist, Weber published works on topics of modern aesthetics, including “The Fourth Dimension from a Plastic Point of View”, which was published in Camera Work in July 1910.
Weber was devoted to advancing the development, understanding, and expression of modern art in America throughout his lifetime and continued to work as an artist until his death in Great Neck, Long Island on October 4, 1961.