George Weber CPE, FCA

1907-2002

Weber’s body of watercolors and serigraphs documents Alberta’s transformation from depression-era wild west to oil-rich urban prosperity.  His work records human impact on the prairie: a Sundance among the Peigan, pumpjacks and grain elevators, and irrigation waterworks along stream and river courses.  

George Weber was born in Munich, Germany in 1907. He was SFCA trained as a draughtsman, wallpaper design and display.  In the late 20's, sensing the dangerous political climate developing in Germany, he decided to immigrate to Canada. George first worked as a wallpaper designer in Toronto; where, in the early 1930’s, he also studied composition, color, and commercial silkscreen techniques at the Ontario College of Art.  He then came west, settling in Edmonton. George attended night classes at the University of Alberta and the Banff School of Fine Arts (1951) for life classes and watercolor techniques under Jack Taylor and Janet Middleton. George was a founding member and president of the Edmonton branch of the Society of Canadian Painter-Etchers and Engravers (CPE); he was a member of the Society of Canadian Painters in Water Color, the Canadian Graphic Society, the Edmonton Art Club, the Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA), and the Northwest Printmakers (Seattle).  Among his numerous exhibitions were the Western Print Exhibit (1957, Hart House, Toronto) and one-man exhibitions at the Edmonton Art Gallery.  The first serigraph selected as an honorary membership print for the CPE was Weber’s Inkaneep Reserve in 1954.  In 1976 George received the Edmonton Historical Board’s Recognition Award for his series of sketches and watercolors of Edmonton historic buildings and sites.

George single-handedly furthered fine art serigraphy (Latin term for silkprint - silk screening), particularly in western Canada. As early as 1948 he lectured at the University of Alberta, Edmonton on the adoption of the silkscreen process and in 1950 and 1951 led workshops on the process at the Edmonton Art Gallery.  Many well-known Alberta artists took classes from him in the 1950's through the University of Alberta. George imported handmade Japanese and European fine art papers (for printmaking) for the benefit of local printmakers.  One of the highlights of his career was in 1985 when his serigraph Moraine Lake was chosen by Canada Post to commemorate the centennial of Banff National Park.  Besides Weber's talent as a printmaker, many collectors treasure his watercolors and preliminary sketches of diverse ranchland, parkland, forest, and prairie of Alberta as well as the interior and coastal areas of British Columbia. His palette displays the rich earthy colors and wide range of tonal values of those landscapes.

The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa recently purchased a number of George Weber’s serigraphs.  The City of Edmonton presented his original serigraphs to the Edmonton Oiler Hockey team in celebration of their 1988 Stanley Cup victory.  George’s works are in the permanent collection of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Arts & Letters Club (Toronto), Glenbow Foundation (Calgary), the C.P.E. Permanent Print Collection (Toronto), Imperial Oil, Dominion Foundries and Steel Ltd., and the Society of Canadian Painter-Etchers and Engravers.