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  Max Weber in Paris

Paris, France
  cir 1905-9

Weber arrived in Paris by October 1905 in time to see the important introduction of Fauve painting at the Salon d’Automne. Although he entered the drawing class of the grand manner history painter Jean-Paul Laurens at the Academie Julien, Weber quickly realized the implications of the new art and rebelled against academic practice. Yet, he continued to draw and paint in the open academies of Colarossi and Grande Chaumiere.

Seeing the retrospective memorial of Paul Cezanne’s work at the Salon des Independents in 1907 was a pivotal moment in Weber’s career and it reinforced his resolve to pursue an innovative direction in his art.

 In Paris Weber met Leo Stein and his sister Gertrude, whose Saturday salons were legendary meeting places for the most advanced artists who became the major masters of modern art. Through the Steins he met Matisse and Picasso. In 1908 Weber was a founding member of Matisse’s only venture into teaching. Weber also befriended Robert Delaunay and through him the eccentric Henri Rousseau, also known as ‘Le Douanier.’ Although based in Paris, Weber visited the major art museums, galleries and historic sites in Spain, Holland, Italy and England before returning to the United States in January 1909. At the Gare St. Lazare as he was leaving Paris, Rousseau called out to the twenty-seven year old American artist, “N’oubliez pas la nature, Weber” and Weber complied to his friend’s admonishment by never neglecting nature in his art. Weber also never forgot Rousseau and was instrumental in introducing Rousseau to America when he organized the first retrospective of Rousseau’s work at Alfred Stieglitz’s ‘291’ Gallery in 1910. In 1913 Weber lent his small collection of Rousseau paintings and drawings to the famed Armory Show. next...


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