Moses Soyer 1899 —1974
MOSES SOYER 1899 - 1974
Moses Soyer was born in Czarist Russia in 1899. In 1912, the Soyers emmigrated to the United States, eventually settling in New York City. Working during the Depression Era in America he dedicated his art to the expressive art of social-realist themes.
He was one of three artistic brothers. Raphael, Moses and Isaac. Moses Soyer was Raphaels identical twin. The Soyer brothers were raised in an intellectual atmosphere created by their father, a Hebrew scholar.
Moses Soyers 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, where he was influenced by Robert Henri and George Bellows. After traveling to Europe on a fellowship, Soyer taught at several schools until The Depression rendered such teaching positions scarce.
The Depression, in fact, set the mood for most of Soyer’s artistic expression for his works of that period. The Works Project Administration provided him with work as well as the fellowship of other artists, but the era itself provided the social sentiments which permeate most of Soyer’s work. He was opposed to landscape painting, and pursued the opportunity to use art for the purpose of making realistic social statements about his era. He utilized some of the techniques of his favorite artists, Van Rijn Rembrandt and Gustave Courbet. He generally portrayed his subjects in the perseverance of hard work or in the uncertainty of unemployment.
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.
After the Depression, Soyer tended towards ballet subjects, reminiscent of Degas, yet his work retained his own personal style of conveying sentimental moods. His paintings remained popular throughout his life. Moses Soyer died in 1974.
Works by Moses Soyer are in over 70 American Museums including, The University of Arizona Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Yale University Art Gallery, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, National Gallery of Art, Cummer Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, Snite Museum of Art, Tate Gallery-Britain, Crocker Art Museum, The University of Michigan Museum of Art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Tacoma Art Museum, Yeshiva University Museum, Cheekwood Museum of Art, The Parrish Art Museum, Birmingham Museum of Art, Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, The Newark Art Museum, Smith College Museum of Art, The Phillips Collection, The Butler Institute of American Art, Everson Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Memorial Art Gallery, The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Portland Art Museum.
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14 x 10.5 inches
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