Moses Soyer’s reputation was established during the 1930s with his social realist paintings. He and his two brothers, RAPHAEL, Moses’s identical twin, and Isaac (1902-1981), learned to draw at an early age in Russia. Moses studied at several art schools in New York, including the Educational Alliance School of Art, the Ferrer School of Art with ROBERT HENRI, and the National Academy of Design. Henri had the most lasting effect on his art. In 1926 Soyer traveled to Europe on a scholarship and worked in Paris for two years. After he returned to New York he began supporting himself by teaching at the Educational Alliance and other local art schools. His first solo exhibition was at J. B. Neumann’s New Art Circle Gallery in 1929, and he continued to be given numerous exhibitions, especially after 1944, when he became associated with A.C.A. Gallery During the Great Depression Soyer worked on government projects, producing easel paintings and murals for Greenpoint Hospital in Brooklyn and the Kingessing Station post office in Philadelphia. In the 1940s he turned away from sociopolitical issues and painted dancers in a manner reminiscent of the work of Edgar Degas (1834-1917), whom he admired. During the rest of his career he created studio productions, often of single figures, using professional models or his friends, capturing in these paintings the spirit of his sitters, their dreams or disillusionment. He also painted numerous portraits and selfportraits. He is best known for his introspective figure paintings of weary, melancholy women. Although his subject matter did not change after the 1940s, his painting style continued to evolve, and because of his increasing concern for formal elements his color became more resonant and brushwork more expressionist.
Archiv. Am. Art, Moses Soyer Papers § Moses Soyer, "Three Brothers," Magazine of Art 32 (April 1939): 201-7,254 § Charlotte Willard and Philip Evergood, Moses Soyer (Cleveland: World, 1962) § Alfred Werner and David Soyer, Moses Soyer (South Brunswick, NJ.: Barnes, 1970) § Syracuse (N.Y.) University and others, organized by ACA Galleries, New York, Moses Soyer: A Human Approach, exh. cat., 197273, with foreword by Martin H. Bush, statements by the artist, chronology, bibliography, lists of collections and awards.