"Standing Nude" Raphael Soyer (1899-1987)
Watercolor and graphite on paper
Pencil signed 'Raphael Soyer' lower right, ca. 1980
Condition: paper slightly discolored
size: 15 x 11 1/2 inches
Raphael Soyer was a Russian-born American artist known for his Social-Realist paintings of daily life in New York. His painterly yet detailed descriptions of people and places, make him among the most important American scene painters of his generation. “From all that I have seen, I am more than ever convinced that art must communicate, and it must represent, describe and express people, their lives and times.” Born on December 25, 1899 in Borisoglebsk, Russia, he largely was educated by his father, a Hebrew scholar. After his family immigrated to the Bronx in 1912 due to political turmoil in Czarist Russia, Soyer began his studies in art at Cooper Union, where he befriended the artist Chaim Gross. He went on to study under the painter Guy Pène du Bois at the Art Students League of New York, and become associated with the painters Reginald Marsh and Peggy Bacon. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s his work was well received and critically acclaimed. However, with the onset of Abstract Expressionism in the 1940s, the Social Realist style Soyer championed, had gone out of fashion. During his life he showed at institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Soyer died on November 4, 1987 in New York, NY. Today, his works are included in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.