Raphael Soyer

Russian-American, 1899–1987

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Raphael Soyer

Russian-American, 1899–1987

561
Followers
Biography

Once dubbed the “East Side Degas,” Russian-Jewish émigré and social-realist painter Raphael Soyer depicted ordinary men and women in contemporary settings. While studying at the Art Students League of New York under Guy Pène du Bois, he was influenced by the Ashcan School’s faithful representations of daily life in New York City’s poorer corners. Soyer rejected abstract art, stating, “I choose to be a realist and a humanist in art.” In sympathetic renderings of the unemployed during and after the great economic crash of 1929, many of Soyer’s paintings came to embody the Depression, as in the drawn, weary face and soft eyes that gaze out of Portrait of Walter Broe (1932). Soyer also painted women in large numbers and various forms throughout his career, including nudes, shop-girls, prostitutes, and pedestrians, displaying a love for and fascination with the manifold faces of humanity.

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
User
Solo show at a major institution
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 2 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 1 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale National Pavilion, and 2 more
Biography

Once dubbed the “East Side Degas,” Russian-Jewish émigré and social-realist painter Raphael Soyer depicted ordinary men and women in contemporary settings. While studying at the Art Students League of New York under Guy Pène du Bois, he was influenced by the Ashcan School’s faithful representations of daily life in New York City’s poorer corners. Soyer rejected abstract art, stating, “I choose to be a realist and a humanist in art.” In sympathetic renderings of the unemployed during and after the great economic crash of 1929, many of Soyer’s paintings came to embody the Depression, as in the drawn, weary face and soft eyes that gaze out of Portrait of Walter Broe (1932). Soyer also painted women in large numbers and various forms throughout his career, including nudes, shop-girls, prostitutes, and pedestrians, displaying a love for and fascination with the manifold faces of humanity.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
User
Solo show at a major institution
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 2 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 1 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale National Pavilion, and 2 more
Articles Featuring Raphael Soyer
Factory Workers, Black Power, and Jaded Youth in “Social Art in America: Then and Now” at ACA Galleries
May 18th, 2014
Factory Workers, Black Power, and Jaded Youth in “Social Art in America: Then and Now” at ACA Galleries
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