Raphael Soyer (1899 - 1987)
Raphael Soyer (1899 – 1987)
Painter, muralist and printmaker Raphael Soyer was born in Borisoglebsk, Tambov, Russia, into a large, Jewish family. He and his children were encouraged by their father to embrace intellectual pursuits, in keeping with his position as a teacher and scholar of some renown. He ran afoul of the local authorities because of his liberal views, resulting in the family’s emigration to the United Staes in 1912, where they settled in the Bronx. Raphael’s twin brother Moses and younger brother Isaac each became successful artists. Raphael left school at age sixteen to help support the family, but nonetheless attended free classes at the Cooper Union and the National Academy of Design. At the Art Students Leauge, Soyer studied under Boardman Robinson and Guy Pène du Bois. Impressed by the young man’s talent, du Bois introudced him to Charles Daniel, a well-known dealer at the time, who gave him his first solo exhibition in 1929.
Soyer’s sensitive, realistic portrayals of his fellow New Yorkers brought wide recognition and praise. Beginning in the early 1930s, his work was exhibited at The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Carnegie Institute, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the National Academy of Design, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He also had a series of solo exhibitions in New York galleries, and also worked in the WPA Federal Arts Project in the 1930s. In addition he taught at the Art Students League. He died in New York.
Etching & aquatint in sepia ink, 1973; edition of 250. Image size 10-7/8" x 13-7/8"; sheet size 15-1/16" x 18-15/16". Numbered 159/250 and signed in pencil by the artist in the lower margin. Printed on Arches paper by Emiliano Sorini (1931 - 1999) of Maywood, New Jersey. Published by Fine Arts 260, a division of the Book Of The Month Club, New York.
The original plate was created by Raphael Soyer ca. 1935, and three or so proofs were pulled using black ink before the plate was set aside. It was used to print this, the only edition, in 1973, and the plate was defaced at the completion of the work. The image is based on Soyer's painting New Hat, ca. 1930. In the artist's words, "The model was Erica, a young woman who posed for me a great deal. She also posed for Reginald Marsh. The etching is about a girl dressed up in a coat, gloves, and hat passing a store window on a cold day. I observed people walking like this girl and tried to reproduce it in my studio." (artist's quotation from Raphael Soyer - Sixty-five Years of Printmaking, by Frank Gettings, published by the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1982).
A fine impression in overall fine condition. There is faint mat burn on the sheet outside of the sight area.