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Soyer's People are Dancing with the Stars!
Moses Soyer 91899-1972, Self-Portrait
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Young Girl in Red Dress, Oil on Canvas 24 x 18
Classsic Soyer Nude
CURATOR'S COMMENTS: Painters Moses and Raphael Soyer were identical twins, and their younger
brother Isaac was also an artist. Moses Soyer was born in in Borisoglebsk, Russia on Christmas Day,
December 25, 1899, and in 1912, the Soyers emigrated to the United States and eventually settled in
New York City. Their father, a Hebrew scholar, raised his children in an intellectual atmosphere of
the Bronx. Moses Soyer's artistic studies began in 1916, and included classes in New York at
Cooper Union, the National Academy of Design, the Educational Alliance, and the Modern School. He
was influenced by Robert Henri and George Bellows at the Ferrer Art School in Spanish Harlem, his
favorite place of study. After his first prize-winning solo exhibition in 1926, he traveled to Europe
on a fellowship. On his return, Soyer supported himself by teaching and with portrait work.
Soyer rejected landscape painting, and in the context of the Great Depression pursued the
opportunity to use art for the purpose of making realistic social statements about his time.
Together, Moses and his twin worked on some large projects, such as a mural commissioned by the
Works Projects Administration for the Kingsessing Station Post Office in Philadelphia. But in the
end, the bulk of their work was figural, focused almost totally on female subjects, with nudes
representing more than half of Soyer’s oeuvre. While Raphael was more likely to focus on women
as seamstresses and in menial work, Moses Soyer turned to the depiction of ballet dancers—
following the mode of Degas. Rembrandt and Gustave Courbet were other important influences on
He was closest with other Russian Jewish émigré painters, notably David Burliuk, who he painted, and
spent summers with at the Hamptons Bays Art Colony. Burliuk bought a small house in early 1941 in a
quiet area in the East End still easily accessible to New York City. Soon Nicolai Cikovsky joined him
along with George Constant and Nat Werner. Moses bought a house on the same street, Squiretown
Road, while his brother Raphael Soyer and Cikovsky took residences in North Sea. But Soyer maintained
his links with the Ashcan School and painted one of the most successful portraits of Reginald Marsh. He
died in the Chelsea Hotel in New York while painting dancer and choreographer Phoebe Neville.
Soyer was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1963 and to the National Institute of Arts and
Letters in 1966. His work has been exhibited at many major art institutions including the Carnegie
Institute, and the Pennsylvania Museum of Fine Arts and is included in the permanent collections of the
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; Museum of
Modern Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Detroit Institute of Art;
Phillips Collection; Walker Art Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Soyer is also the
author of "Painting the Human Figure," which was published in 1964.
SORRY WE SOLD THIS SOYER MASTERPIECE TOO SOON!