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Max Weber: Becoming Modern

Mar 15 - May 17, 2019

Santa Fe

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Press Release

Gerald Peters Gallery is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition, Max Weber: Becoming Modern. Spanning the years 1905 to 1930, the paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures that make up the exhibition will explore Weber’s transformation from art student to arbiter of the avant-garde. The exhibition will open in Santa Fe on March 15, 2019. 
 
Weber arrived in Paris in 1905 and enrolled at the Académie Colarossi, pursuing a traditional, academic course of study. He left Paris four years later an avant-garde artist, an acolyte of Matisse, Picasso, Cézanne, and Rousseau, determined to change the course of art in the Untied States. By 1930, Weber had become a superstar, with a retrospective that year at MOMA, the first that institution had devoted to an American artist. Weber’s rise to stardom, however, was not marked by an easy line of successes, but rather by a trail of baffled critics, financial hardship, and a public whose tastes and perceptions were years behind Weber’s evolved vision. 
 
Between 1905 and 1930 Weber redefined art in America: he introduced modern European art but, more importantly, he established American art and artists as part of transatlantic modernism. Before the 1913 Armory Show, Weber was faced with an environment with only one established outlet for showcasing modern art (Stieglitz’s 291) and a public that was still enthralled by Impressionism. Weber persevered in filtering European modernism through American lens. His works from these yearsgave visual expression to the “new” and exist, in the words of Lloyd Goodrich, as “the most advanced experimental painting…produced in America in these years.” Max Weber: Becoming Modern will focus on these twenty-five years of struggle and experimentation during which Weber matured from student to master, guiding a reluctant public through a crash course on modern art and becoming a lodestone for American Modernism.

 

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Artist Information

On December 21, 1908, Max Weber, a twenty-seven-year-old Russian-born naturalized American, left Paris to return to New York where he would profoundly affect the course of American art as a painter, printmaker, sculptor, poet, essayist, and teacher. Henri “le Douanier” Rousseau, the visionary genius of French modernism, accompanied him to the Gare St. Lazare and called out to his departing friend, “N’oubliez pas la nature, Weber.” As Rousseau advised, Weber did not forget nature, and the natural world informed his work throughout his impressive sixty-year career. Best known today for his monumental cubist and futurist images of Manhattan from the 1910s, Weber redefined traditional subjects of figures, still life, and landscape to reflect his twentieth-century sensibility and touched on virtually every phase of modernism prior to his death in 1961.

Artist