Moses Soyer (1899-1974)
Signed 'M Soyer' (lower right)
Oil on canvas
Size: 24" x 28.5"in
Moses Soyer was an American Realist painter whose work centered on the concept, “My message is people.” His friends, family, fellow artists, and other models were the most important aspect of his work, which spanned a career of more than fifty years. Despite an academic background in painting with extensive training at several American art schools as well as a fellowship in Europe, Soyer’s work retains a highly personal and unique quality, which sets him apart from other realist painters of his era.
Born in Russia, Soyer’s family immigrated to the United States shortly before the outbreak of the First World War in Europe. In their teens, both Soyer and his twin brother, Raphael, began to show interest in pursuing careers as artists. By the mid-1920s, Moses had begun to exhibit his work in galleries in New York. He continued to enjoy success at solo and group exhibitions over several decades at galleries in New York and Philadelphia.
Soyer concentrated mainly on portrait work, and figures are almost always visible even in his landscape pieces. His realist style was highly influenced by the Ashcan School and his studies at the Ferrer Art School in Spanish Harlem, which contrasted greatly with his more formal beginnings at the Cooper Union National Academy of Design. The everyday happenings and activities of living in New York were clearly influential in the development of his personal style. During the Depression, Soyer earned several commissions through the Works Progress Administration to paint murals in several government buildings across the United States.
Throughout his career his subject matter remained fairly simple and straightforward, representing the people he encountered in everyday life. He focused on the natural qualities of people and did not attempt to sensationalize or embellish the subjects he saw before him. His wife, Ida, was a modern dancer, and dancers frequently showed up as the subjects of his work. His subjects included a wide range of people, from writers and other artists, to actresses or wealthy art collectors.
Soyer’s works are included in the permanent collections of dozens of American museums, such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1963, and the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1966. He continues to be represented by a selection of notable art galleries today.
Moses Soyer (1899-1974) Original Oil Painting "Two Women"