Raphael Soyer (December 25, 1899 – November 4, 1987) was a Russian-born American painter, draftsman, and printmaker. Soyer was referred to as an American scene painter. He is identified as a Social Realist because of his interest in men and women viewed in contemporary settings which included the streets, subways, salons and artists' studios of New York City. He also wrote several books on his life and art. His brothers Moses Soyer and Isaac Soyer were also painters.
Raphael Soyer and his identical twin brother, Moses, were born in Borisoglebsk, Tambov, a southern province of Russia in 1899. Their father, Abraham Soyer, a Hebrew scholar, writer and teacher, raised his six children in an intellectual environment in which much emphasis was placed on academic and artistic pursuits. Their mother, Bella, was an embroiderer. Due to the many difficulties for the Jewish population in the late Russian Empire, the Soyer family was forced to emigrate in 1912 to the United States, where they ultimately settled in the Bronx.