Isaac Soyer Biography

Isaac Soyer




Painter and printmaker Issac Soyer was born Isaac Schoar on April 26, 1902, in Tambov, Russia, into a family of Russian Jewish artists and intellectuals. As well, his father was a Hebrew scholar. Rising tensions surrounding religious affiliation in late-Empire Russia put pressure on his family and they emigrated to the United States in 1912, settling in the Bronx in New York. They formally changed their last name to Soyer upon arrival. This exposure to sociopolitical upheaval and change would ultimately influence Soyer's artistic subject matter for much of his career, as well as that of his brothers Raphael and Moses. All three were known for their Social Realist subject matter.

Soyer studied at the National Academy of Design, the Cooper Union, and the Educational Alliance, as well as in Paris and Madrid. With the onset of the Great Depression he worked as an art teacher for the WPA's Federal Art Project, which was the beginning of a prolific teaching career that took him to the Albright Art School, Buffalo, NY (1941-1947), and the Brooklyn Museum Art School (1947 - 1971), as well as the Art Institute of Buffalo, Niagara Falls Art School, New School for Social Research, and the Art Students League of New York.

Isaac Soyer died in New York City on July 8, 1981. His work can be found at the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Brooklyn Museum; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery; and the Dallas Museum of Art.