Raphael Soyer (Russian-American, 1899-1987)
Born into an academic and artistic family, the three Soyer boys; Raphael, Moses and Isaac, all embraced fine arts and made it their life’s pursuit to document the world around them.
As children, their world changed dramatically. Having grown up in a southern province in Russia, the Soyers’ emigrated to the United States in 1912 with the hope of escaping oppression. Once settled in the Bronx, the Soyer brothers continued their artistic pursuits, eventually moving on to study at the Cooper Union and the Art Students League, among several schools between them. Raphael Studied under Guy Pene du Bois and upon completing his training at the Art Students League joined the “Fourteenth Street Painters” to document the working-class with empathy throughout the Great Depression.
Images of unemployment waiting rooms, casting offices, dance halls, cafes and bread lines were all settings used by the Soyers to capture the energy and turbulence of urban life in 1930’s America.