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Catalog Data

Soyer, Raphael, 1899-1987  Search this
De Francia, Peter  Search this
Burliuk, David  Search this
Bratby, John  Search this
Baranik, Rudolf  Search this
Ahlas, Lambro  Search this
Biddle, George  Search this
Singer, Isaac Bashevis  Search this
Poor, Henry Varnum  Search this
Lasker, Joe  Search this
Hirsch, Joseph  Search this
Hopper, Edward  Search this
Hirshhorn, Joseph H.  Search this
Goodrich, Lloyd  Search this
Place of publication, production, or execution:
United States
Physical Description:
3.9 Linear feet
The collection is arranged into 7 series: Series 1: Biographical Material, 1939-1986 (Box 1, OV 6; 12 folders) Series 2: Correspondence, 1940-1988 (Box 1-2; 1.0 linear foot) Series 3: Writings & Notes, circa 1946-1987 (Box 2-3; 1.5 linear feet) Series 4: Legal & Financial Records, 1959-1988 (Box 3; 0.2 linear feet) Series 5: Printed Material, 1933-1989 (Box 3-4; 0.3 linear feet) Series 6: Photographs, circa 1953-1987 (Box 5, OV 6; 0.5 linear feet) Series 7: Artwork, 1968, undated (Box 5; 2 folders)
Access Note / Rights:
Use of the original papers requires an appointment.
The papers of realist painter Raphael Soyer date from 1933 to 1989 and measure 3.9 linear feet. They document Soyer's career as a painter, printmaker, and writer. Found within the papers are scattered biographical materials, including several transcripts of interviews with Soyer; extensive personal and professional correspondence; writings and notes by Soyer and others; scattered legal and financial records; exhibition materials, clippings and other printed material; and photographs of Soyer in his studio, with artists and friends, and at art events. Also found are one sketch and a facsimile of Soyer's 1968 sketchbook produced by Forum Gallery.
Raphael Soyer papers, 1933-1989. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Additional Forms:
The papers of Raphael Soyer in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2009, and total 6074 images.
Materials which have not been scanned include photographs of works of art, select draft writings by Soyer, writings by others on unrelated topics, and certain routine financial documents and printed material. Exhibition catalogs have had their covers and relevant pages scanned.
Material lent for microfilming is available on 35mm microfilm reel N68-1 at the Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Use Note:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Related Materials:
Also found at the Archives of American Art are several collections related to Raphael Soyer: Esther Reier letter from Raphael Soyer, 1978 May 29; Raphael Soyer's Artist Statement from 1947; a Raphael Soyer lecture from 1960; the papers of his twin brother, Moses Soyer; Brooklyn Museum interviews of artists, circa 1965-1968 (includes an interview of Soyer); and the Karl E. Fortess taped interviews with artists, 1963-1985, which also includes an interview with Raphael Soyer. The Archives of American Art's Oral History collection has an interview of Raphael Soyer dated May 13-June 1, 1981 conducted by Milton Brown.
Additional Raphael Soyer papers, 1949-1954, are available at Cornell University. The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (N68-1) including a small amount of correspondence and three sketchbooks. Lent materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Biography Note:
Raphael Soyer (1899-1987) and his twin brother Moses (1899-1974) were born on December 25, 1899, in the Russian town Borisoglebsk. Their father Abraham was a scholar and Hebrew teacher who encouraged all of his children to sketch and paint. After the family was deported from Russia, they settled in the Bronx, New York, in 1912. Raphael and Moses briefly attended school, but at 16 they began working various jobs to help support their family. They also began taking free art classes at Cooper Union and later Raphael attended the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League where he studied with Guy Pene du Bois. He began to show his paintings in 1926 and in 1929 gallery owner Charles Daniel gave him his first one man show. Soyer became one of the leading realist painters and printmakers, often depicting Depression-era transients, Manhattan streetscapes, shoppers, and women at work. He also painted and sketched numerous self-portraits and portraits of fellow artists and cultural figures, many of whom were also his friends, including Allen Ginsberg, Chaim Gross, Edward Hopper, and Arshile Gorky.
Language Note:
English and Russian
Raphael Soyer donated portions of the collection between 1961 and 1980. He also loaned materials for microfilming in 1968. His widow, Rebecca, and his grandson, Joseph Leiber, on behalf of the entire Soyer family, donated additional materials in 1991 and 1993.
Digitization Note:
The papers of Raphael Soyer in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2009. The bulk of the papers have been scanned and total 6,074 images.
Location Note:
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Printmakers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Social realism  Search this
Realism  Search this
Painting, American  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Lives of artists  Search this
Record number:
Lives of artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art