Islamic and Friendship Studies at Oberlin College

Al Carroll:Max Weber, Friends: Two women sitting on a bench, 1912

Gift of Joseph and Enid Bassett 1964.27

Stern Gallery?

Friendship is often mistakenly considered to be a continuous source of joy.  However, in this pastel painting by Max Weber, we see another aspect of friendship.  Friends can be a comfort to each to each other in times of loss, pain or sorrow.  In this case it might be the loss of a mutual friend, or it could be an unfortunate circumstance in the life of one of these two women.  The predominance of blues in this painting emphasizes the sadness during this moment in their lives. In a long, deep friendship during times like this one, there is no need for conversation, only the simple presence of the friend.   Did Max Weber know these two women, or in his eyes did their friendship simply emerge from their closeness despite the sorrow on their faces?

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