Max Weber: An American Cubist in Paris and London 1905-15
25 June – 5 October 2014
Free to all
Examining the career of the Russian-American Cubist artist, with a particular focus on his connections with Europe.
The exhibition begins with Weber's years in Paris, a crucial time for the artist during which he met Pablo Picasso and Henri Rousseau and was introduced to the work of Paul Cezanne. In later writings he would describe his memories of this period as 'by far the richest and the fullest', the city 'a veritable melting pot of art history'. In 1908 he enrolled in Henri Matisse's first art class where he became acquainted with Fauvist and Cubist styles. It was from here he produced Apollo in Matisse’s Studio and the graphite Portrait of Matisse.
Returnign to New York in 1909 Weber met the photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn, who shared his fascination with the New York skyline - evident in both men's work. They enjoyed a lifelong friendship, continued through letter after Coburn settled in England in late 1912. The display includes portraits the two created of each other.
Weber also forged connections with key members of the British avant-garde, and was included in Roger Fry’s first Grafton Group Exhibition at the Alpine Club Gallery in London. Six of the 11 pictures that were shown are in this exhibition, reunited with works by other Grafton Group artists, such as Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and Percy Wyndham Lewis.
On display are 14 Weber paintings from the University of Reading's collection, which has never previously been exhibited in its entirety. It is the only collection of Weber pictures in the UK an was put together by his friend, Alvin Langdon Coburn.