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Max Weber (1881 - 1961) was among the first artists to carry the modernist revolution to the United States. In 1905 he ventured to Paris, where he studied with Henri Matisse (1869 - 1954) and witnessed the development of the fauve and cubist styles. Upon returning to America in 1909, he forged a personal vision from these vocabularies as well as elements of the art of Aztec, Mayan, Egyptian, Greek, Oceanic, and northern Pacific cultures. Weber became one of the first American artists to apply these diverse approaches to printmaking, frequently using color at a time when black-and-white prints were ubiquitous in American art.
Born in the western Russian (now Polish) town of Bialystok, a center for textile production, Weber recounted that his earliest memory was of his grandfather mixing colorful fabric dyes, which instilled in him a love of bold color and form. At age ten Weber emigrated to Brooklyn, New York, and seven years later entered Pratt Institute, where Arthur Wesley Dow (1857 - 1922) was his mentor. An influential teacher, Dow (who had studied with Paul Gauguin [1848 - 1903]), championed the use of flat masses of color and a vibrant line as found in Japanese prints. After graduating, Weber taught in schools in Virginia and Minnesota, which financed a three-year stay abroad.
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