Woman with a Purple Scarf, 1921
b. 1881, Bialystok, Russia (now Poland)
d. 1961, Great Neck, New York
Max Weber was a Russian-born American Cubist painter, and was one of the early American Modernists. In 1891, when he was ten years old, Weber immigrated to New York with his parents. As a young man, he studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, before moving to Paris to study at the Académie Julian and under the tutelage of Henri Matisse. While in Paris, Weber attended the salons of Leo and Gertrude Stein, where he befriended Henri Rousseau and Pablo Picasso.
With his return to New York in 1909, Weber was quickly incorporated into the Stieglitz Circle, a group of artists (including Marsden Hartley, Georgia O'Keefe, and Paul Strand) that exhibited at Alfred Stieglitz's gallery 291 in New York. During this time, he introduced the New York art world to the Fauvist and Cubist styles popular back in Europe. After 1930, Weber's paintings became increasingly figurative, and he began to incorporate Jewish imagery in his work. He also became involved in activist movements of the time, and in 1937 he chaired the anti-fascist American Artists’ Congress. As an instructor at the Art Students League in New York, Weber most notably taught young Mark Rothko.