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Idelle Weber

American, 1932-2020
Cube, 1968, Silkscreened Lucite, 4 (H) x 4 (W) x 4 (D) inches
Cube, 1968, Silkscreened Lucite, 4 (H) x 4 (W) x 4 (D) inches

By rendering the figures anonymous, the artist makes them universal: a viewer could occupy any of these roles.

In the late 1950s, Idelle Weber created the first iteration of the silhouette paintings that would become central to her work of the next decade.  In 1958, she studied at the Art Students League with Theodoros Stamos and Ralph Humphries, and her first silhouettes developed from her work there.  By the early 1960s, she was firmly involved with New York’s progressive art world, and she was represented by Bertha Schaefer.  During this period, Weber began creating hard-edged silhouettes of people, placed over backgrounds that were by turns planes of color or, more frequently, patterned with flat grids or other designs.

In the late 1950s, Idelle Weber created the first iteration of the silhouette paintings that would become central to her work of the next decade.  In 1958, she studied at the Art Students League with Theodoros Stamos and Ralph Humphries, and her first silhouettes developed from her work there.  By the early 1960s, she was firmly involved with New York’s progressive art world, and she was represented by Bertha Schaefer.  During this period, Weber began creating hard-edged silhouettes of people, placed over backgrounds that were by turns planes of color or, more frequently, patterned with flat grids or other designs.

 

The silhouettes depict types—businessmen, office workers, couples, brides, families—in quotidian activities.  By rendering the figures anonymous, the artist makes them universal: a viewer could occupy any of these roles.  At the same time, the archetypal quality of the forms suggests standardization or commercialization, an implication underscored by the crisp outlines and broad forms that resemble advertisements.  In these silhouette paintings, the artist leaves her intentions ambiguous.  Whether critique or celebration of American culture, they offer a graphic appeal that reflects her Pop milieu.

 

A Chicago native, Weber was raised there and in Beverly Hills.  As a teenager, she won a Scholastic Art Award, among other regional competitions, and she pursued art while a student at Scripps College and UCLA; her instructors included Millard Sheets and Stanton Macdonald-Wright.  Weber taught briefly in Los Angeles before moving to New York in 1957 at age 25.  That year, a drawing was included in the Museum of Modern Art’s “Recent Drawings U.S.A.”—Gertrude Mellon bought the piece from the show.

 

By the early 1960s, her work was exhibited widely at venues including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the American Federation of Arts, and the Dwan Gallery.  Schaefer began showing her silhouette paintings in 1962, and the following year, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery purchased a piece.  Later in the 1960s, Weber began working with Plexiglass to create wall sculptures in three dimensions.

 

In the 1970s, she shifted her focus to include representational paintings of New York City fruit stands and litter, finding inspiration in detritus.  Drawing from everyday subjects shifted direction in the following decade; Weber worked on images of foliage, flowers, pebbles, and other natural subjects.  Her work is included in public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Harvard Art Museums, and the Brooklyn Museums, among many others. Weber passed away on March 23, 2020 at the age of 88.

Works

News

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Idelle Weber, Jump Rope Lady, 1966, Collage with Color-aid paper and tempera, 12 5/8 x 12 inches

Idelle Weber, pop art au féminin

(French-language)
April 2, 2020
Idelle Weber, Munchkins I, II, & III (1964). Courtesy of the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia.

American Pop Artist Idelle Weber, Known for Her Striking Depictions of Corporate Banality, Has Died at Age 88

The opening credits of 'Mad Men' recall the artist's featureless silhouettes of anonymous corporate workers.
April 1, 2020
IDELLE WEBER (1932–2020)

IDELLE WEBER (1932–2020)

March 31, 2020
Idelle Weber at her Brooklyn Heights studio, 1958. Courtesy of Hollis Taggart and the Estate of Idelle Weber. © Idelle Weber.

Pop art icon Idelle Weber dies at 88

March 31, 2020
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ARTnews in Brief: Hirshhorn Names Curator of Media and Performance Art—and More from March 30, 2020

Pop Artist Idelle Weber Has Died at 88
March 30, 2020
Idelle Weber at her Brooklyn Heights studio, 1958. Courtesy of Hollis Taggart and the Estate of Idelle Weber. © Idelle Weber.

Idelle Weber, Pop-Art Icon, Remembered

March 30, 2020
Lyrical Pop Art of Idelle Weber Bridges Two Eras, Silhouette paintings at Hollis Taggart Gallery engage contemporary power politics

Lyrical Pop Art of Idelle Weber Bridges Two Eras

Silhouette paintings at Hollis Taggart Gallery engage contemporary power politics
December 6, 2019
Gallery Beat, Idelle Weber: Postures and Profiles from the 50s and 60s

Gallery Beat

Idelle Weber: Postures and Profiles from the 50s and 60s
November 30, 2019
Editors’ Picks, 17 Things Not to Miss in New York’s Art World This Week

Editors’ Picks

17 Things Not to Miss in New York’s Art World This Week
November 5, 2018
Art Movements, Transitions

Art Movements

Transitions
October 8, 2018
Idelle Weber

Idelle Weber

September 2013
Booze, Food, Flesh Animate Artists in Manhattan Galleries

Booze, Food, Flesh Animate Artists in Manhattan Galleries

April 19, 2013
Idelle Weber: The Pop Years

Idelle Weber: The Pop Years

April 18, 2013
Idelle Weber

Idelle Weber

April 2013
Gallery Hopping on Thursdays: March 28, 2013, Solo exhibitions by Minimalist artist Tedd Stamm and Pop artist Idelle Weber.

Gallery Hopping on Thursdays: March 28, 2013

Solo exhibitions by Minimalist artist Tedd Stamm and Pop artist Idelle Weber.
March 27, 2013
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Idelle Weber: Postures and Profiles from the 50s and 60s

Video walkthrough of artist Idelle Weber's exhibition Postures and Profiles from the 50s and 60s.
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