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Art HERstory: Idelle Weber

Art HERstory: Idelle Weber

Throughout American history, being born with boobs has provided a one way ticket to second-in-command. Women haven’t ever gained equal societal acceptance despite our equal abilities. Some women give up and accept what’s given to them, while others say ‘screw that’ and bust their rumps to earn what is rightfully theirs. Idelle Weber (1932 – ) was a taker. Many doors were slammed in her face because of her gender, but she remained persistent and eventually became a prominent member of the Pop art and photorealist movements.

'Rhymer's Sailors' (1982-3)

This Chi-town talent took her talents to west coast for college. She became a UCLA Bruin and earned her BA in 1954 and MA in 1955. By the time she was 25, Idelle’s name was bi-coastal. In 1957, her drawing Observation of Sound was featured in an exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York while she was still a Cali resident.

'Ben Casey' (1962)

Her rise in popularity in NYC forced the artist to move. Sam Hunter, curator at MoMa, wanted to help Idelle as much as he could. He admired her talents and wanted to help her name spread like wildfire across the nation. He even arranged a meeting with H.W. Janson, art scholar/historian/author extraordinaire. Prepare for door slam numero uno. Janson blatantly told Idelle he didn’t feature women artist in his books. Idelle attempted to show her work in the Allen Gallery. That was a no go as well. Owner Charles Allen also refused women artists. That makes 2. The final slam came from abstract artist Robert Motherwell. Upon requesting to audit his class, he told Idealla that married women with children were not permitted to audit classes because they would not continue painting. Say what?!?!

'Foxglove Head' (1958)

Idelle continued to paint and began to earn solo exhibitions throughout NYC. She even became close buds with fellow Pop artists like Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, Roy Lichtenstein, and Agnes Martin. In the late 1960s Idelle shifted from Pop art to Photorealism. She made a name for herself in that area as well.

'Food Shop' (1969)

Eventually paintbrushes transformed into pointers. Idelle made creating a secondary focus and teaching her primary in the 1970s. She taught graduate drawing and painting at NYU and art at Harvard, the Art Barge, and Victorian College of the Arts. She returned to painting in the 1990s and still continues to work and live in NYC.

Image Layout: Phaymiss

'Tandoor Sari' (1982)

'Blue Pebbles' (1990)

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