Idelle Weber - Munchkins I, II & III, 1964 (detail) - Image via staticflickrcom

Idelle Weber/ Idelle Weber

United States 1932

Pop Art

Idelle Weber
Idelle Weber
Female
United States
1932

Idelle Weber is an American artist most closely aligned with the Pop art and Photorealist movements, although her work was always a challenge to categorize. She is best known for her silhouette paintings resembling the visual language of advertisements, a reason why Weber was so often linked to Pop art. Her work captures outlines of figures such as businessmen, secretaries and travelers engaged in ordinary, everyday activities and placed against colorful flat or patterned backgrounds that often resembled the style of Pointillism. Later in her life, Weber shifted towards photorealistic landscapes and outdoor still lifes of trash, carts, rocks and other urban debris.

Idelle Weber - Law Man, 1963 - Image via bpcom
Idelle Weber – Law Man, 1963 – Image via bp.com

Idelle Weber and Her Silhouette

During the second half of the 1950s, Weber created the first of the silhouette paintings that would soon become central to her work of the next decade. She studied at the Art Students League and it was here that Idelle initially started to develop her unique style. By the early 1960s, she was heavily involved with New York’s progressive art world and established herself as one of the leading artists who were ready to experiment and push the conventional frontiers of the art scene. During this time, she was represented by Bertha Schaefer. Soon, Weber began creating hard-edged silhouettes of people placed over backgrounds that were planes of color or, more frequently, patterned with flat grids, dots or other designs. These silhouettes depicted businessmen, office workers, couples, brides, families in quotidian activities, etc.

Idelle Weber - Livingston Street, 1964 - Image via cavaliergalleriesincrs
Idelle Weber – Livingston Street, 1964 – Image via cavaliergalleriesinc.rs

Her Position in Pop Art

The archetypal quality of the forms in Idelle Weber’s compositions suggests standardization and commercialization, as well as an implication underscored by the crisp outlines and broad forms that resemble advertisements. This is the main reason why the artist was so frequently linked with Pop artwhether critique or celebration of American culture, her works offer a graphic appeal that reflects her Pop milieu. By the early 1960s, her work was exhibited widely at venues all over the world. About a decade later, Weber shifted her focus to representational paintings of New York City fruit stands and litter, finding inspiration in rubbish. This was the last big phase of her career as no other radical change appeared in her work ever since.

By using silhouettes, Idelle Weber turns her figures into anonymous individuals and makes them universal so that the viewer can occupy any of these roles and identify with the portrayed characters

Idelle Weber - Munchkins I, II & III, 1964 - Image via theartblogorg
Idelle Weber – Munchkins I, II & III, 1964 – Image via theartblog.org

A Secured Legacy

By using silhouettes, Weber renders the figures in her compositions anonymous, making them archetypes of the capitalist system and suggesting standardization and a certain lack of individuality. This is the way most art historians tend to interpret Weber’s body of work despite the fact such deeper meaning may cause a gap to appear between this artist and the Pop movement which obviously had different creative agendas in mind. Nevertheless, the Pop art world embraced Idelle Weber due to her originality and talent, so both her name and work are now regularly found alongside the most representative names and pieces in the movement’s arsenal.

Idelle Weber lives and works in New York City, United States.

Featured image: Idelle Weber – Munchkins I, II & III, 1964 (detail) – Image via staticflickr.com
All images used for illustrative purposes only.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2017Idelle Weber: SunnyBroadway 1602, New York City, NY Solo
2017Painting the Visible World: American Women RealistsBernarducci.Meisel.Gallery, New York City, NY Group
2016Around The EdgeBroadway 1602, New York City, NY Group
2016121 StreetBroadway 1602, New York City, NY Group
2016Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney's CollectionWhitney Museum of American Art, New York City, NY Group
2016Inaugural ExhibitionBroadway 1602, New York City, NY Group
2015Still Life: 1970s PhotorealismCurrier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH Group
2014Still Life: 1970s PhotorealismNassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NY Group
2014Fête De La NatureGarvey|Simon, New York City, NY Group
2013idelle weber: the pop yearsHollis Taggart Galleries, New York City, NY Solo
2013Still Life: 1970s PhotorealismYale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT Group
2013American CollageGerald Peters Gallery, New York City, NY Group
2013Summer SelectionsHollis Taggart Galleries, New York City, NY Group
2013Pop Goes The Easel: Pop Art And Its ProgenyLyman Allyn Art Museum, New London, CT Group
2011Gallery SelectionsHollis Taggart Galleries, New York City, NY Group
2011The Paper ShowJean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL Group
2011Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958-1968Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MA Group
2010Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958–1968Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York City, NYGroup
2010Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958-1968Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, NE Group
2009A Parallel Presence: National Association of Women Artists, 1889-2009Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick, NJ Group
2008Shock of the Real: Photorealism RevisitedBoca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL Group
2008Place in TimeRuth Chandler Williamson Gallery at Scripps College, Claremont, CA Group
1986Idelle Weber: Paintings and Works on Paper, 1982–1985Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago, IL Solo
1977Aspects du réalismeMusée d´art contemporain de Montréal, Montreal, QC Group
1965Arena of LoveDwan Gallery, Los Angeles, CA Group
1963Pop! Goes the EaselContemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX Group