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                    photo credit: Doris Ullman Jaeger

  A Few of Max Weber's Works 

date unknown
Private Collection

Private Collection

Private Collection

Interior of the
Fourth Dimension
Oil on Canvas
30" x 39". Collection of National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Private Collection

Private Collection
 Max Weber in his Studio
Great Neck, New York


Max Weber (1881-1961) is one of America’s most important twentieth century artists. The first American cubist, Weber translated the modern European aesthetic into a truly American style that evolved during the roughly sixty years of his career. He developed a personal expressionism in his mature phase that was influential for the development of Abstract Expressionism.

Weber, at age forty-nine, was the first American artist to be given a retrospective at the newly opened Museum of Modern Art in 1930. This major recognition was followed by solo shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Jewish Museum in Manhattan, acknowledgment that Weber was one of America’s most significant modernists. His works are included in most of the major American museums and in other museums throughout the world including the Vatican collections in Rome and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel. Although Weber is best known for his innovative modernism, he is also acknowledged as one of the leading American artists of Judaic themes.

Weber’s early work included landscapes, still life, and figure painting that remained the staples of his repertoire. Trained at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, Weber was most influenced by his years in Paris (1905-1909) where he encountered the most modern tendencies in art. He was inspired by the work of Paul Cezanne, which he saw at the great Cezanne retrospective in Paris in 1907. Weber also incorporated elements of the brilliant colorism that he saw in the work of Henri Matisse, who was briefly his teacher in 1908, and the formal structure of the new cubism that he saw in the studio of Pablo Picasso.

Weber explored modern techniques during the second decade of the twentieth century. At this time he exhibited frequently. He was accorded the honor of being the first modern artist to have a solo exhibition in a major American museum when he was given his first retrospective show at the Newark Museum in 1913. After the death of his parents in 1918 at the end of World War I, Weber briefly turned away from modern art as so many artists were doing. During the twenties he returned to more familiar imagery and began his exploration of Judaic themes. During the thirties Weber’s political views compelled him to address more socially conscious themes. At the end of his career, he returned to the abstraction that had dominated his initial mature work.

This exhibition, Max Weber: Reflections of Jewish Memory in Modern American Art, was made possible by the cooperation of Max Weber's daughter Joy, his biographer Percy North, and Solna K. Wasser. It provides a look into the mind of this modern American artist, what and who some of his influences were, and what might have motivated him to create many works relating to Jewish culture and religion. next...


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