NARRATOR: Believe it or not, this painting by Max Weber was inspired by a visit to a Chinese restaurant. It’s like an exploded jigsaw puzzle in which you can still make out some of pieces. Gold and black squares cover the lower half of the painting. This is the linoleum on the restaurant’s floor. Red and gold—the traditional color scheme of a Chinese restaurant—predominate. Throughout, Weber incorporates textures and patterns taken from elements of the restaurant’s décor. Look at the center of the image. Fragments of faces give a sense of the crowded interior and the hustle and bustle of the waiters. Some of the faces repeat in an arrangement that looks like stop-action photography, where a range of motion is broken down into a series of single moments. The resulting sense of movement recreates the accelerated pace of modern life. When this painting was made in 1915, Chinese restaurants were exotic novelties in New York. The fragmentation of this image refers to another novelty, too: it calls up the techniques of cubist painting, which was all the rage in Europe. Cubism gave Weber the technique he needed to present a new world in a new way.