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Raphael Soyer

Born in 1899, Raphael Soyer came to the United States from Russia in 1912, and studied art at Cooper Union, the National Academy of Design, and at the Art Students League. He was the founder, along with such other realist artists as Edward Hopper, Ben Shahn, and Yasuo Kuniyoshi, of Reality , an influential art magazine of the 1950’s.

Technical virtuosity characterized Soyer’s work and charge it with subtle understatement, tenderness of subject, and sentiment, qualities which allowed him to explore life among New York’s poor without resorting to picturesqueness or satire. Soyer’s sense of humanistic passion makes his work special. His isolated and introspective portraits are universally admired and treasured.

Raphael Soyer came to the United States in 1912, and studied art at Cooper Union, the National Academy of Design, and with Guy Pene du Bois at the Art Students League. He was the founder, along with such other realist artists as Edward Hopper, Ben Shahn, and Yasuo Kuniyoshi, of Reality , an influential art magazine of the 1950’s. He has exhibited his works professionally in galleries since 1929. Soyer began to draw at an early age. It wasn’t until he witnessed his father being sketched by a noted town artist that he decided to pursue a career as an artist. “That one could draw a living person was a sudden revelation to me,” he remembers. “I stopped drawing for several days, then asked my father to pose for me. When the drawing was praised, my elation was boundless. From then on I became a confirmed realist.” Later in his career Soyer deliberately discarded traditional perspective and detailed delineation for simple, flat patterns and minimum detail, then he would begin again with acutely observed portraits. This technical virtuosity characterized his work and charged it with subtle understatement, tenderness of subject, and sentiment, qualities which have allowed him to explore life among New York’s poor without resorting to picturesqueness or satire. soyer paints from nature, not imagination. Like his favorite Thomas Eakins and Edward Hopper, Soyer’s sense of humanistic passion makes his work special. His isolated and introspective portraits are universally admired and treasured. Résumé: Soyer’s prints and drawings are held in the collections of innumerable private collections throughout the world and many notable museums, including: The Boston Museum of Fine Arts The Aibright-Knox Museum, Buffalo The Museum of Modern Art, New York The Detroit Institute of Art THe Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York He has enjoyed over three hundred one-man shows and two major museum retrospectives.

Additional Information: Born: 1899 Birthplace: Russia Died: 1987

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