- Max Weber
- Imaginary Portrait of a Woman
- signed Max Weber and dated 1913 (lower left); also inscribed "Portrait" (on a label affixed to the stretcher)
- oil on canvas
- 36 by 24 inches
- (91.4 by 61 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. Aaron W. Davis (her daughter), New York
Natalie and Jerome Spingarn (their daughter), Washington, D.C.
Private collection, Atlanta, Georgia (by descent)
Gerald Peters Gallery, New York
Private collection, Texas (sold: Sotheby's, New York, May 19, 2004, lot 136)
Acquired by the present owner at the above sale
San Francisco, California, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, June 1949 (on loan)
Buffalo, New York, Albright-Knox Art Gallery; Brooklyn, New York, The Brooklyn Museum; Los Angeles, California, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Max Weber: The Cubist Decade, 1910-1920, December 1991-April 1993, no. 35, p. 101
Alfred Werner, Max Weber, New York, 1975, illustrated pl. 51
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Max Weber was included in the 1910 landmark exhibition Younger American Painters, which also featured works by Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove, John Marin, Arthur B. Carles and Edward Steichen, among others. Organized by Alfred Stieglitz at his gallery 291, this was the first collective exhibition of works by modern American artists. Percy North writes, "Weber's inclusion in Younger American Painters established him as a renegade artist with an unusually innovative vision. When Weber's work did not appear at the Independents exhibition organized by the realists in March of 1910, Arthur Hoeber remarked, 'they are independent enough but we miss the name Max Weber, even more independent than any of the foregoing, and we wonder why he is left out of the group. Perhaps he would make the rest look conventional. We opine he would. At any rate no true Independent show would be complete without him'" (Max Weber: The Cubist Decade 1910-1920, Atlanta, Georgia, 1991, p. 22).
By 1913, the year he completed Imaginary Portrait of a Woman, Weber was fully immersed in New York life, experiencing the lively cafes, vaudeville theatres and newly released moving pictures. This same year, Weber painted Imaginary Portrait of a Woman. Percy North observes, "Two other paintings of 1913 make oblique references to the experience of the cinema. Weber's reverie of his fantasy female from the cinema, revealed in his poem 'I Wonder,' resulted in his painting Imaginary Portrait of a Woman [Imaginitive Portrait of a Woman], 1913. Although the subject does not appear to be placed in the theatre, the green curtain at the left edge of the canvas suggests a stage-like setting. The portrait allowed the artist to bring his dream girl to life in the manner of the mythical Pygmalion" (Ibid, p. 29).