Max Weber (American, 1881–1961) was a Jewish-American artist who primarily worked in the Cubism style before transitioning to Jewish themes in later years. Weber was born on April 18, 1891, in the Polish city of Bialystok, which was part of the Russian Empire at the time. When he was just a boy, Weber immigrated to America with his family. At the age of 16, he began to study art at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, with Arthur Wesley Dow (American, 1857–1922). Dow's theories regarding art and design, as well as his continued interest in Far Eastern styles of painting, would later heavily influence the development of Weber's artistic style.
After graduating, Weber relocated to Virginia to accept a teaching position. Eventually, he also relocated to Minnesota for the purpose of teaching. After saving enough money, Weber traveled to Paris in 1905. For a period of time, he studied at the Académie Julian in Paris. The inability to draw from live models soon became too constricting, and Weber left Paris. He also attended the Académie Colarossi. Throughout 1906 and 1907, Weber exhibited his works at the Salon des Indépendants and the Salon d'Automne. During his time in Paris, Weber became acquainted with several well-known Modernist artists, including Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Matisse (French, 1869–1964), Henri Rousseau (French, 1844–1910), and others associated with the School of Paris.
As the result of financial difficulties, Weber returned to America in 1909. Once home, he began to tour numerous galleries and became acquainted with Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864–1946), an advocate of the Modernist movement. Through Stieglitz's financial support, Weber was able to continue his work. His work during this time reflected flattened spaces and broad brushstrokes. Following his return to America, Weber worked at introducing Cubism in America.
Today, the artist is considered to be one of the foremost American Cubists. In 1910, he participated in the Younger American Painters show. He also exhibited his works at numerous one-man shows in Stieglitz's New York Gallery, 291. Until 1919, Weber's works were primarily restricted to a Cubist-Futurist style. After World War I, religious and spiritual themes began to emerge in his works. During the 1930s, Weber began to introduce lyrical portrayals of individuals from Eastern Europe. He also began to experiment with color, space, and lines. Weber is remembered for his ability to blend American urban subjects with European modernism.