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Raphael Soyer Self-Portrait

Raphael Soyer, 25 Dec 1899 - 4 Nov 1987
Raphael Soyer, 25 Dec 1899 - 4 Nov 1987
c. 1923
Ink, crayon and graphite on paper mounted to board
Image/Sheet: 36 x 30.5 cm (14 3/16 x 12")
Mount: 53.3 x 38.8cm (21 x 15 1/4")
Mat: 71.1 x 55.9cm (28 x 22")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© Estate of Raphael Soyer, courtesy of Forum Gallery, New York
Object number
Raphael Soyer: European\Russian
Exhibition Label
When asked how to become a better artist, Raphael Soyer said, "Draw, draw, draw." During his youth in Russia, his father taught him to draw and encouraged him to take life drawing classes once the family moved to New York. Soyer sketched constantly, drawing people he met on the streets and his own reflection in the mirror. "I've painted and drawn myself countless times because, frankly, I am an introvert and introverts are involved with themselves." He also used self-portraiture to emulate some of his artistic heroes, serial self-portraitists such as Rembrandt, Corot, and Degas. He enjoyed manipulating the image in order to contemplate his life, past and future. In this work he looks older than his twenty-something years, but his drawings made toward the end of his life celebrate his youth and vitality.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection