The Female Form: Raphael Soyer and Harold Cash
OCTOBER 3, 2014 - APRIL 2015
Our current Collections Focus exhibition is on artists Raphael Soyer [1899-1987] and Harold Cash [1895-1977], and their varying approaches to depicting the female form. Both were born near the end of the nineteenth century and lived well into the twentieth. As a result, both artists experienced the many developments of the twentieth century—from numerous artistic movements that have helped define and shape modern art, to the many advances in technology and changing socio-economic structures that had traditionally defined women’s roles. In this new century, women moved further into the public sphere, and began to be more openly expressive of their bodies and sexuality. Both artists were fascinated by the figure, but their styles contrasted greatly when it came to capturing this new woman.
A Russian immigrant, Raphael Soyer joined a community of artists interested in representing urban life in his adopted home of New York City. Soyer was considered a social realist, an artist who sought to document the daily life of the working class, and was particularly interested in the women who worked as seamstresses and shop girls. His contemporary, Chattanooga born Harold Cash, was more engaged with depicting the figure in more classical or traditional ways.
While Soyer looked to the garment industry for his subjects, Cash sought out models among the entertainers he encountered while studying in Paris in the late 1920s and early 1930s. There he found his style, his inspiration and his passion as he began to sketch and sculpt the women he met. His themes and style persevered through his return to the US where he continued to create at his dual homes in Greenwich Village New York and his family farm in Wildwood, Georgia.