As I See
Boris Artzybasheff (1899 - 1965) was a prolific illustrator who was born in the city of Kharkov in the former Russian province of Ukraine.
As a young man, Artzybasheff fought as a White Russian soldier for the Czars during the Bolshevik Revolution. The October uprising that initiated the Russian Civil War (1917-1923) would eventually bring the Communist Soviet Union to power. The war would leave it's mark on Artzybasheff's work and his work ethic.
In Russia, during the struggle, the monarchist White Russians fought for the survival of the Russian royal family alongside U.S. Marines but were ultimately overwhelmed. The royalists were eventually crushed. Czar Nicholas Romanov's royal family, whose forebears had known assasinations and intrigue for many generations were executed down to the last man, woman and child.
Remaining royalists were summarily imprisoned or executed by the Communists whose revolt was inspired by the bloody domination of the Czars for centuries. The royal families bodies were burned and then buried in Yekaterinburg in Central Russia. After the Czar's four daughters were killed it was discovered that they each bore an amulet or braclet bearing the picture of disgraced monk Grigori Rasputin and a prayer.
The remainder of the 2.4 million man White Army was scattered throughout Europe, Turkey and America. Some would go on to serve as mercenaries, others found their place in Hitler's Reich. Artzybasheff fled Russia in 1919 seeking political asylum after the royal family was killed and 5 years before all of Russian belonged to the Communists.
When Artzybasheff immigrated to New York City he was penniless and without a working knowledge of English. In time, Artzybasheff eventually found work in an engraving shop and his earliest work appeared in 1922 as illustrations for Verotchka's Tales and The Undertaker's Garland. A number of other book illustrations followed during the 1920's.
His graphic style was always fluid and striking. In commercial work, Artzybasheff explored grotesque experiments in anthropomorphism, where toiling machines displayed distinctly human attributes. Conversely, one of his works shows Buckminster Fuller's head in the form of Fuller's geodesic structure.
In his personal work, Artzybasheff explored the depiction of vivid and extreme ranges of human psychology and emotion. Artzybasheff went to on to illustrate 200 covers for TIME magazine and 50 books including his own book entitled As I See (1954). He worked exhaustively in advertising as a graphic designer for Xerox, Shell, Pan Am, and Parke-Davis.
Wikipedia, Boris Artzybasheff
Wikipedia, Russian Religious Sect: Khlystism
ASIFA-Hollywood Archieve, Media: Artzybasheff's Diablerie
BPIB, Boris Artzybasheff
American Art Archives, Boris Artzybasheff