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Born in Chicago in 1932, Weber was adopted in 1933. Her family moved to Los Angeles in 1941. She attended Beverly Hills High School, and received a full scholarship to study Art at Scripps College. She then transferred to UCLA and received her B.A. in 1955, as well as an M.A. in 1956. At UCLA, her instructors included Millard Sheets and Stanton MacDonald-Wight. Her classmates included Ed Moses, Craig Kauffman, and James McGarrell.
In 1957, Weber’s drawing Observation of Sound was chosen to be included in the Museum of Modern Art’s (MOMA) juried Recent Drawings USA exhibition. The charcoal work was purchased by Gertrude Mellon. That same year Weber married, moved to New York, and began exhibiting as Idelle Weber. At this point she began to experience the sexism that defined the art world of the time. Numerous galleries expressed admiration for her work, but refused to represent women. Art Historian Horst Janson praised her privately, but told Weber he did not include women artist in his books. When Weber asked Robert Motherwell if she could audit his classes at Hunter College, the artist refused, commenting, “What's the point? Married women with children do not continue to paint.”
Despite these obstacles, Weber persevered and began to develop the hard-edge silhouettes that would define her work for the next decade. (These anonymous, silhouetted businessmen would later be appropriated, uncredited,for the title sequence and advertising campaigns of the award-winning, AMC drama, Mad Men.) After her first solo exhibition was mounted at the Bertha Schafer Gallery in January of 1963, Weber was exhibited alongside other Pop Artists (Warhol, Lichtenstein, Oldenberg, Indiana, etc.). She was included in seminal exhibitions such as Pop Art U.S.A. (1963) at the Oakland Museum, Pop Goes the Easel (1963) at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, and The Box Show (1964) at DWAN Gallery in Los Angeles, where Warhol’s Brillo Boxes were first shown.
In the late 60s, Weber embarked on a new phase in her work. She began painting from Polaroids she had taken of New York City shop fronts when she first arrived in New York in the late 50s. These paintings of fruit stands, which transitioned in 1974 to studies of litter found around New York City, put her amongst the leaders of another significant movement in American Art: Photorealism.
After a highly-successful run with her “trash paintings,” Weber again transitioned her style and subject matter in the 1980s. She began work on large-scale geometric studies of the gardens of Giverney and Versailles. Weber remarked: “If a subject becomes easy or manneristic, then it loses its interest for me, as I strive not to repeat.” Following this dictate for the rest of her career, Weber “continued to zigzag with ultimate grace, elasticity, and commanding technical skill across Abstraction, Minimalism, Color-field painting, and Conceptual Art as she determine(d) that specific references to those diverse movements should inform her work…” (Virginia Bonito) Notably, works from each one of these periods are held by high-profile museums: MOMA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney, LACMA, The Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Brooklyn Museum.
In 2010, Sid Sachs curated the traveling exhibition, Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists 1958-68, which brought long overdue recognition to Weber and the other women artists who had contributed so much to the Pop era of the 1960s. Weber passed away in 2020.