Philbrook Museum of Art goes the distance with its next big exhibit, Models & Muses: Max Weber and the Figure, Nov. 4-Feb. 3.

Considered one of the most important American artists of the 20th century, Weber rode the torrent of art as it underwent the frantic evolution of the early 1900s that witnessed the shock of cubism and the abstractions of modernism that followed.

Weber was a Polish immigrant who came to America with his family when he was 10. After studying under Arthur Wesley Dow at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, he went to Paris where he met the most famous names in art of the day, including Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. By 1909, he was back in New York painting in the cubist style – which did not meet quickly with widespread acclaim.

Over time, this conduit of modern art would alter his approach to the line, going from hard to soft, but his subject was almost always the human form. This Philbrook original exhibit gauges Weber’s work and vision as artist and teacher, how the figure, perhaps, offered a personal haven when his work was under attack either socially or critically.

Figures of women in the home and in nature take on spiritual reflections in scenes of serenity and distress, often viewed as the artist’s reaction to the approach of World War II.

Models & Muses – assembled from both public and private collections – is that rare exhibition of an artist’s life offering the audience a map of his vision, inspiration and his legacy. Through his eye, the human body repeatedly is negotiated, read and rendered meaningful, yet never to the point of exhaustion.

Philbrook Museum, 2727 S. Rockford Road, Tulsa, is open daily except Mondays. Admission is $7-$9. Go online to for schedules and information about free admission.

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