NEW BOOKS NETWORK -- In Victor Arnautoff and the Politics of Art (University of Illinois Press, 2017), Robert Cherny details the both range of Arnautoff’s activities and how the views born of those experiences influenced his work. Born in Russia, Arnautoff’s service as a cavalry officer for the anti-communist White forces in the Russian Civil War forced him to abandon his homeland for an involuntary exile, first in China, then in the United States.
Cherny is professor emeritus of History at San Francisco State University.
“He intended to become an artist, but then came the war and he ended up with essentially a 10-year detour in his plan to become an artist, first by his service in the Russian cavalry, then his service in the White army,” Cherny says. “And once he left the Civil War and became a refugee in China, he found that, in order to make a living, he needed to go to work for the local warlord.”