Artwork Information

  • Title:


  • Artist:

    Weber, Max

  • Artist Bio:

    American (born in Poland), 1881–1961

  • Date:


  • Medium:

    Oil on canvas

  • Dimensions:

    30 1/8 x 36 1/4 in.

  • Credit Line:

    Wichita Art Museum, Roland P. Murdock Collection

  • Object Number:


  • Display:

    Not Currently on Display

About the Artwork

Max Weber (1881-1961)

Refugees, 1939

Oil on canvas, 30 1/8 x 36 ј in.

Signed in lower right-hand corner: Max Weber

The Roland P. Murdock Collection M21.41

            The middle thirties signaled the beginning of Max Weber’s period of social comment. Never was his Jewish heritage more significant to his art. Of the painting Refugees, Weber wrote: “ It is an expression of my compassion for the unhappy people and particularly the women and children who have had to flee from the Nazi and Fascist hordes, and unfortunately are still fleeing as if from lava. With my mind’s eyes and sad heart I could see and feel the tragedy that had befallen them. Brooding and sorrowing over their misery, fear and destitution, I was impelled to pour out my pent-up emotions on canvas with the means I am most articulate. I chose therefore a minor color gamut and a jagged geometric landscape as a fitting and logical background for the tortured victims, fleeing with their packs on bent and broken backs, fleeing, some finding momentary refuge and rest in valleys and caves, still others before and behind them, fleeing whereto?”1

                        Max Weber was born in Bialystok, Russia. He came to America with his family in 1891 where they settled in Brooklyn. Having decided on an art career, Weber enrolled at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, in 1898. After three years of study Weber became an art instructor in the Lynchburg, Virginia, School system. With the money earned from teaching he traveled to Paris in 1905 where he studied with Jean-Paul Laurens at the Acadйmie Julian. During this time Weber returned to the United States in 1909 and had his first one-man show at the Haas Gallery, New York, that year.

1. Letter from Weber to Elizabeth S. Navas, August 12, 1941.