Moses Soyer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Moses Soyer
Moses Schoar

(1899-12-25)December 25, 1899
DiedSeptember 3, 1974(1974-09-03) (aged 74)
New York City, US
EducationCooper Union, National Academy of Design, Educational Alliance, Ferrer Center and Colony
Known forPainting
MovementSocial Realism
SpouseIda Chassner Soyer
Untitled painting by Moses Soyer, Honolulu Museum of Art

Moses Soyer (December 25, 1899 – September 3, 1974) was an American social realist painter.


He was born as Moses Schoar and both he and his identical twin brother, Raphael, were born in Borisoglebsk, Tambov, a southern province of Russia on December 25, 1899.[1][2] Their father, Abraham Shauer, a Hebrew scholar, writer and teacher,[3] raised his six children in an intellectual environment in which much emphasis was placed on academic and artistic pursuits. Their mother, Bella, was an embroiderer.[4] Their cousin was painter and meteorologist Joshua Zalman Holland.[5] Due to the many difficulties for the Jewish population in the late Russian Empire, the Soyer family was forced to emigrate in 1912 to the United States, where they ultimately settled in the Bronx.[1] The family name changed from Schoar to Soyer during immigration.[2]

Soyer married in 1922 to Ida Chassner, a dancer.[6] Together they had one son, David Soyer. Dancers were a recurring subject in his paintings.[6]

Soyer studied art in New York with his twin Raphael, first at Cooper Union, and continued his studied at National Academy of Design.[7] He diverged from his twin and attended Educational Alliance.[7] And later studying at the Ferrer Art School, where he studied under the Ashcan painters Robert Henri and George Bellows.[8]

He had his first solo exhibition in 1926 and began teaching art the following year at the Contemporary Art School and The New School.[9][10]

He was an artist of the Great Depression, and during the 1930s, Moses and his brother Raphael engaged in Social Realism, demonstrating empathy with the struggles of the working class.[11] In 1939, the twins worked together with the Works Project Administration, Federal Art Project (WPA-FAP) mural at the Kingsessing Station post office in Philadelphia.[7][12]

Soyer wrote a weekly column for a Yiddish newspaper called "In the World of Art".[3]

Death and legacy[edit]

He died in the Chelsea Hotel in New York on September 3, 1974, while painting dancer and choreographer Phoebe Neville.[13][14] He was buried in Acacia Cemetery in Queens County, New York.

The Brooklyn Museum,[15] the Detroit Institute of Arts,[16] the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, DC),[17] the Honolulu Museum of Art,[citation needed] the Metropolitan Museum of Art,[18] the Museum of Modern Art (New York City),[19] the Philadelphia Museum of Art,[20] The Phillips Collection (Washington, DC),[21] the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, Minnesota),[22] the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York City),[23] the Amon Carter Museum of American Art (Fort Worth),[24] the Smithsonian American Art Museum,[25] and Yale University Art Gallery[26] are among the institutions holding works by Moses Soyer. The untitled painting in the collection of the Honolulu Museum of Art is an example of his intimate and psychologically penetrating portraits of ordinary people, for which he is best known.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "A Finding Aid to the Raphael Soyer papers, 1933-1989 | Digitized Collection". Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  2. ^ a b "Raphael Soyer, American, born Russia, 1899 - 1987, Schoar, Raphael". The National Gallery of Art (NGA). Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  3. ^ a b Harshav, Benjamin (2007). The Polyphony of Jewish Culture. Stanford University Press. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-8047-5512-2.
  4. ^ Berman, Avis (December 1979). "Raphael Soyer at 80: 'Not painting would be like not breathing': Smithsonian American Art/Portrait Gallery Library". ARTnews.
  5. ^ Schudel, Matt (2011-05-28). "A Local Life: Joshua Z. Holland, 89, a man of science with an artist's soul". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  6. ^ a b Jewish Renaissance, October 2009, p. 43.
  7. ^ a b c Southgate, M. Therese (2011-03-17). "Moses Soyer, Girl At the Sewing Machine". The Art of JAMA: Covers and Essays from The Journal of the American Medical Association, Volume III. OUP USA. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-19-975383-3.
  8. ^ "Moses Soyer: Biography". American Art at the Phillips Collection. Retrieved April 24, 2013.
  9. ^ "Moses Soyer". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  10. ^ Goodman, Susan T. The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art. Oxford University Press. p. 521.
  11. ^ Steiner, Raymond J. (January–February 2000). "Moses and Raphael Soyer at the ACA Galleries". Art Times.
  12. ^ Worden, Amy (April 27, 2009). "Push for Public Access to New Deal murals". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2020-11-11.
  13. ^ The London Review of Books, Letters, (Phoebe Neville) 6 March 2014, page 6
  14. ^ "Moses Soyer, 74, Dead; Traditional U.S. Painter; Portrait of His Brothers On to Philadelphia Family Resemblance". The New York Times. 1974-09-03. Retrieved 2020-11-11.
  15. ^ "Moses Soyer – American, born Russia, 1899-1974". Brooklyn Museum. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  16. ^ "Moses Soyer: Joseph Stella, 1946". Detroit Institute of Arts Museum. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  17. ^ "Search results". Collections Search Center, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  18. ^ "Search the Collection". The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  19. ^ "Moses Soyer". MoMA. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  20. ^ "Collections : Search Collections". Philadelphia Museum of Art. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  21. ^ "Moses Soyer". The Phillips Collection. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  22. ^ "Moses Soyer". Walker Art Center. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  23. ^ "Moses Soyer". Whitney Museum of American Art. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  24. ^ "Moses Soyer". Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  25. ^ "Moses Soyer". Smithsonian American Art Museum. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  26. ^ "Pregnant Girl in Red". Yale University Art Gallery. Retrieved April 17, 2021.

Further reading[edit]

  • Soyer, Moses; Willard, Charlotte (1962). Moses Soyer. Cleveland, OH: World Publishing Company. OCLC 685693.

External links[edit]