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Sample Autograph Signature: Boris Artzybasheff

Russian-born American painter, and magazine, book and advertising illustrator. Boris Artzybasheff (1899 - 1965) was born in the Russian Ukrainian city of Kharki, an important center of the 19th-century Ukrainian literary movements. He was the the son of Mikhail Petrovich Artzybashev (18781927), a controversial Russian novelist, playwright, and essayist whom the Bolsheviks expelled from Russia in 1923 for his decadence. He settled in Warsaw, Poland from whence he bitterly attacked the Bolsheviks. His son, however, illegally immigrated to America in 1919 by jumping ship in Brooklyn with 14 cents in Turkish coins. Whether he had any previous art training is unknown, but he found work in an engraving shop. His first known work appeared in 1922 as illustrations for Verotchka's Tales and The Undertaker's Garland. These were followed by a number of other book illustrations during the 1920s including Dhan Gopal Mukerji's Gay-Neck, the 1928 Newbery Medal winner. Over his lifetime, he illustrated some 50 books, several of which he wrote. Beginning in the early 1940s Artzybasheff's work was eagerly sought by magazines and corporate advertisers. Even the government used his skills during WW II as an expert advisor to the U.S. Department of State, Psychological Warfare Branch. During the same period, his powerful images of the various faces of war done for Life brought his work to public attention. He also began the more than 200 insightful covers for Time be produced between 1941 and 1965. It was also after 1940 that he began illustrating advertisements for such corporate giants as Xerox, Shell Oil, Pan Am, World Airways, Parker Pens, Parke Davis, Scotch Tape, and others. Artzybasheff's work ranged from realistic portraits to the surreal, often combining the two. Perhaps the best description of his work is on the dustjacket of his most well-known book, As I See, published in 1954: "The artist has divided the book into four sections: 'Neurotica' is a series depicting frustration, timidity, alcoholism, et. al; 'Machinalia' is of machines which take on human forms out of their essence, as in a weird, grotesque dream. 'Diablerie' interprets the fiendish, often ludicrous instruments of modern warfare; the final group, 'Escapades,' ranges widely on our culture and human vanities."

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Author: Boris Artzybasheff

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