National Gallery of Art - EXHIBITIONS

Max Weber's Modern Vision

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Introduction | Paris | New York | Figuration to Fracture | Return to the Human Figure | Images

In Paris, Weber encountered the paintings of Paul Cézanne (1839 - 1906), whose use of geometric elements to suggest solid form profoundly affected his style. Weber considered this the turning point in his life. He also met Henri Matisse, who taught an informal class that Weber helped organize. Matisse was a member of the Fauves ("wild beasts"), a group whose work was characterized by the use of bold, non-naturalistic color for expressive effects. The Fauves sought to integrate form and color, which reinforced Dow's earlier lessons. Through Weber's association with such avant-garde artists as Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973), whom he met at gatherings hosted by the American collectors Gertrude and Leo Stein, he came to exhibit with the most advanced artists of his day. He also was introduced to printmaking, probably by Abraham Walkowitz (1880 - 1965), another American artist in Paris who shared Weber's interest in modernism.

By late 1908, Weber had run out of money and reluctantly returned to New York. Like many modernists, he found inspiration in African art and is thought to have brought some of the first examples to the United States. While in Paris, he acquired a collection of works by Henri Rousseau (1844 - 1910), from which the photographer Alfred Stieglitz (1864 - 1946) selected Rousseau's first American show at his Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession (known as "291" for its address on Fifth Avenue). Weber also returned home with reproductions of works by Cézanne--among the first images by the master to cross the Atlantic.

Introduction | Paris | New York | Figuration to Fracture | Return to the Human Figure | Images