Jacob Weber-2

by Glorie
Last updated 4 years ago

Language Arts
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Jacob Weber-2

Time Line


The start of the tragedy

The world famous artist Yakov Weber had to flee with his family to the far away village of Shcherbakovka located in the Saratov province. He and his family had to endure all the hardships: hunger, cold, humiliation. However, Weber did not resemble a village hermit. He taught the village youth literacy and drawing, led the Republican art studio and even took an active part in the life of the children's colony, where he got the title of "a friend of Young Communists". In the winter of 1921 Weber was captured by the brigand gang by Pyatakov. Thanks to his students' efforts and the villagers' intercession Weber was saved from the enevitable execution . The echo of this event can be heard in Y.Weber's historical picture " Under the Ice", which is distinguished by its gloomy color and naturalistic details.

The Soviet power treated Weber suspiciously. On the one hand, the authorities recognized his talent, but on the other hand they criticized his out-of-date landscape painting and the artist's "reluctance to depict socialist transformations". In 1937 Weber was commissioned by the National Museum to paint the picture " Cooking watermelon honey ." Then the artist was awarded the State Prize for it. Have a look at this picture! How exactly it shows the socialist reality. It may seem peaceful at the first sight, but for the figure of the forewoman reprimanding the worker for some slight fault and threatening her to take away her so-called workday units. The bitter irony is that in the same year Y.Weber was arrested and deported to the village of Karasu, the Kustanai region of Kazakhstan. Weber was charged with espionage, because among his documents they had found the map of Jesus Christ's travels round Palestine, which had been made by the painter a few years earlier to illustrate the Bible.

The peculiarities of Weber's art language are seen in his use of a calm narration, modest motifs and traditional visual means. Sunrises and sunsets, midday sleepiness of an aspen grove, the winter torpor of nature, the mighty river floods and everyday life of "Russia's main street" - the Volga - that is the content of the numerous Weber's paintings. The artist was sincere and observant, he avoided and feared any pathos. Weber could show even a flood not as a kind of a catastrophy, but as a natural seasonal phenomenon. Dramatic clashes didn't match his quiet, measured attitude to life. Yakov Weber has always remained faithful to the principles of Russian landscape art of the second half of the XIX century.

In 1956, the Presidium of the Stalingrad Regional Court overturned the conviction of 1938. Weber was rehabilitated. In 1957 he and his family moved to the Chuvash city of Tsivilsk, where his son lived. So, Yakov Weber managed only 20 years later to see the Volga, which he had sung many times in his paintings.

Weber's wish was to come back to his homeland, though the artist had become rather old and sick. He came to Engels once in 1956 in hope to organize a personal exhibition, as there he had left there some pictures before the exile to Kazakhstan. The city authorities did not allow to open the exhibition, because the attitude towards the German theme was controversial during that period of time. On February 20, 1958 Yakov Weber died. His last and undoubtedly brilliant works were "scattered" in peasants' homes, schools and farm clubs. They were neglected and thrown away ... Some of his paintings were lost in museum storerooms, others disappeared in private collections. There are about 30 pictures by Yacov Weber in the Engels Local Lore museum, it's the largest Weber's collection in Russia. Last summer it was brought to Moscow and considered a great event in the cultural life of our country.

In the summer of 1914, the First World War broke out. Weber's life dramatically changed. The artist with the German name immediately found himself to be jobless. Weber's studio was closed. His pictures, that had been sent to Italy and France were lost once and for all. The artist's life became too difficult. Weber sold the part of his paintings (a half of his proceeds he donated to the soldier hospital), closed his studio" The Company of Artists", and left the capital.At that time in St. Petersburg (Petrograd), there was a wave of pogroms and requisitionings, and the artists' studios with German names suffered most of all.


Shcherbakovka's prisoner


Charged with espionage and anti-Soviet activities




The end of the life way

Yakov Weber, a singer of the Volga,one of a million who shared the fate of his people

Weber's style of painting

Our suggestions to commemorate Y.Weber's name



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