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 Victor Mikhail Arnautoff  (1896 - 1979)

About: Victor Mikhail Arnautoff


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Lived/Active: California / Russian Federation      Known for: mural, portrait and sea-landscape painting, prints

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BIOGRAPHY for Victor Arnautoff
1896 (Mariupol, Ukraine, Russia)
1979 (Leningrad, Russia)

California / Russian Federation

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mural, portrait and sea-landscape painting, prints

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in the Ukraine of Russia, Victor Arnautoff became one of the most influential muralists in San Francisco in the 1930s and worked for the Federal Arts Project, WPA, in the expressive, social protest-style of Diego Rivera.  He was also a painter, lithographer, sculptor, and respected teacher, and the subjects of his art work ranged from portraits, still lifes, and landscapes early in his career to more socially conscious themes later.

He arrived in San Francisco in 1925, having travelled through China and Mexico.  He enrolled in the California School of Fine Arts where he studied sculpture with Ralph Stackpole and painting with Edgar Walters.  He returned to China for his wife and children, and returned to California via Mexico City where he studied with Rivera from 1929 to 1931.

The family then settled in San Francisco, and he taught at the California School of Fine Arts and from 1939 to 1963, was professor of art at Stanford University.  Following the death of his wife, he returned to Russia where he continued his career as a painter and also as a mosaic muralist.

His murals can be seen at Coit Tower, George Washington High School, and the Presidio in San Francisco and in post offices in Richmond, South San Francisco, and Pacific Grove.

Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in the Ukraine, Russia on Nov. 11, 1896.  After arriving in San Francisco in 1925 via China and Mexico, Arnautoff enrolled at the CSFA where he studied sculpture with Ralph Stackpole and painting with Edgar Walters.  He returned to China andthen went to Mexico where he learned fresco techniques while working with Diego Rivera.  In 1931 the family settled in San Francisco where he  taught at the CSFA and, from 1939 until his retirement in 1963, was an art professor at Stanford University.  His work turned from the portraits, still lifes, and rural landscapes to more socially conscious themes later in life.  After the death of his wife in the 1960s, he returned to the USSR and died in Leningrad in 1979.  Exh:  SFAA, 1929-39 (awards); CPLH, 1931 (solo); Calif. State Fair, 1934, 1935; Foundation of Western Art (LA), 1934-38; Calif.-Pacific Int'l Expo (San Diego), 1935; GGIE, 1939; NY World's Fair, 1939.  In:  SFMA.  Murals:  Linden and College Station (TX) Post Offices; Richmond (CA) Post Office; Pacific Grove (CA) Post Office; George Washington High School (SF); Coit Tower (SF); Palo Alto Medical Clinic; Presidio Chapel (SF);  SF Art Inst. Library.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Invw; Coit Tower;  CAR; SF Chronicle, 9-1-1935, D3; WWAA 1936-62.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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