Born in 1899, Raphael Soyer came to the United States from Russia in 1912, and studied art at Cooper Union, the National Academy of Design, and at the Art Students League. He was the founder, along with such other realist artists as Edward Hopper, Ben Shahn, and Yasuo Kuniyoshi, of Reality , an influential art magazine of the 1950’s.
Technical virtuosity characterized Soyer’s work and charge it with subtle understatement, tenderness of subject, and sentiment, qualities which allowed him to explore life among New York’s poor without resorting to picturesqueness or satire. Soyer’s sense of humanistic passion makes his work special. His isolated and introspective portraits are universally admired and treasured.