Jakow Weber

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Jakow Weber

Yakov Weber (25/07/1870 - 20/02/1958) Russian painter, the first and the last Honored Artist of the Volga German Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic



The family moved from Baltser to Zeelman (Rovnoye). From the age of 7 up to 14 Yakov Weber learnt at school. He was good at music and drawing. He drew everything: Volga steamboats, people, bullock and camel rides, cows, goats, dogs; he made his drawings on everything he had at hand: scraps of paper, cardboard and even whitewashed walls of the houses. Later, when Yakov became a mature artist, he would come to Rovnoye and paint its nature: the Volga, boats, beautiful sunsets and sunrises. Thanks to Jacob Weber we know today, what our Rovnoye looked like in the end of the 19th and in the beginning of the 20th centuries. In the picture above you can see his pencil sketch of Rovnoye (Zeelman).

In 1902 Weber became a student of St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. He was awarded the first prize named after Kuindzhi. In the years of 1902-1907 Yakov Weber participated in all major exhibitions in Petersburg. The Academic Council awarded him the diploma of painting for his professional excellence.Weber's paintings were sent to Holland, Sweden and Italy, where they were awarded numerous prizes. It is known that the Volga sketches made ​​such a strong impression on the artist Ilya Repin that the latter painter suggested Weber studying in his studio.

After some years of routine work as a copyist, devoid of any creativity, Weber left for Moscow, where he studied in the art studio of the outstanding Russian painter Konstantin Korovin, who praised the talent of a self-taught artist. Seeing Weber's work, Korovin admitted him to the studio on a free basis , while others had to pay 50 rubles a month, a fabulously large sum of money for the poor colonist!A number of sketches and drawings he painted during those years, brought him deserved fame of "the singer of the Volga" and of a connoisseur of nature, which he drew on the canvas with exceptional love and unerring accuracy.

Yakov Weber was born in the village of Goly Karamish (Baltser), Saratov province in a big and poor family. The German colonу of Baltser was a big settlement with the population of more than seven thousand people. The colony was famous for its wheel workshops, sarpinka production and dying factories. Craftsmen's work was very esteemed there. That's why Yakov's father wanted to see his son in "a more reliable business, for example, carpentry or plumbing.


The first picture

Move to Zeelman (Rovnoye)



At K.Korovin's art studio, Moscow

Study in Penza


Saratov period

The first picture created by the young artist was "The death of the steamboat "Vera". This mail steamboat was one of the fastest ones in the Lower Volga. One night, passing by the settlement of Rovnoye, it burst into flames. Weber and his friend witnessed the whole accident, and they even tried to save drowning people. The tragedy deeply impressed the boy, and he decided to paint a picture. However, the young artist wasn't fully satisfied with his work, and in the attack of despair he destroyed it. There are only some sketches left, cherished by the artist as a memory of the accident and his first grand work.

As an adult (at the age of 22 ) having overcome a resistance on behalf of his family and the village assembly, which hadn't given him a certificate (an analogue of today's passport), Weber went to the provincial center to study art. In Saratov he addressed for help to the former Rovnoye's pharmacist Zammel. The last brought him to the Director of the Radishchev Museum . The artist showed his "Vera " and several other paintings and sketches. The director gave Weber a test: to make some reproductions of paintings. When the job was done, the director took the talented young man as a copyist to the museum. Weber was happy. His work performed with outstanding diligence attracted the attention of V.V. Konovalov, the head of the Bogolyubov Art School at the Radishchev Museum. Almost all the artists who were born in Saratov in the last third of the XIX century were his students (Victor Borisov-Musatov, Peter Utkin, Fyodor Korneev, Pavel Kuznetsov).


Some time later Korovin dissolved the studio and went to Paris. He invited Weber to go with him to "this Mecca for painters". But Weber refused. "It seemed to me impossible to leave the country. I loved the Volga, I loved Russian fields and woods ... My feelings prevailed over reason. I thanked him and refused," Yakov Weber wrote in his reminiscences. Before the departure Korovin gave Weber the advice to show his pictures to Professor Savitsky, who had just been appointed a director of a newly opened Penza Art College. Weber agreed immediately. During the period of study in Penza Weber created several paintings: "The Farm house ", " The Horse under the canopy ," " The Gypsy wagon ", " The Road ", " The Beggar ", "The Barnyard " and some others . One of them, "An old man in a fur coat," was purchased by the Penza Picture Gallery. What characterized Weber's style of painting? First of all, Weber painted his pictures in the manner typical to Russian realism , but with some characteristic Weber's haze , which became the hallmark of his work.Yakov Weber finished Savitsky's Studio in 1901. He was 31 then.

Time Line


World Fame and Success

"It was the art that had chosen me..."Yakov Weber

one of a million who shared the fate of his people.

Following this link you'll know if it was easy for Y.Weber to be a German by nationality

A singer of the Volga,


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