Born into an impoverished family in 1905 in Czernowitz (a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time), Vladimir lived and practiced there until World War II, when he was declared an enemy of the people and of the revolution by the Communists. A timely pact between Russia and Germany to swap populations afforded him a chance to escape his death sentence, albeit into Nazi Germany, by pretending to have German ancestry. He was able to avoid joining the Nazi Party, but the regime assigned him to fill the vacancy left by the doctor for the small mountain village of Hinterstoder in Austria, where he stayed until a few years after the war. He then immigrated to the United States, where he settled in Peoria, Illinois, working as a doctor on the tuberculosis ward of the local state mental hospital.
Artistically, Vladimir displayed undeniable talent from childhood, but only began studying painting in earnest while in medical school. He chose to focus largely on scenes of pastoral and traditional life, a thread that, in spite of his war experiences, continued throughout the rest of his life, even after his immigration to the US. He paints America in a way that feels similar to that of his scenes of Europe, noting a loveliness within American landscapes and daily life that reveals an Old-World sensibility, less hurried and more accustomed to gazing at and appreciating one's surroundings.
The majority of his works are paintings of landscapes (including fields, mountains, lakes, and cities), many of a Europe long since vanished. Alongside these, we also see an interest in other genres, particularly still lifes (including produce, flowers, and party paraphernalia) and portraits (including blacksmiths, farmers, villagers, and his family). Vladimir painted mostly in oils, but occasionally in watercolors. He also experimented in other media, including wood plates, in which he visits his more traditional subjects, and clay, in which he explores busts and statues.
This book represents the most comprehensive collection of the artist's work to date, many available in print for the first time. All works are reproduced in full color, several in full-page prints, and many are accompanied by a text describing the story behind the artwork.
The book reveals the life's work of a physician artist a man who lived through two world wars, immigrated to the United States without knowing English, re-qualified as a doctor to work in Illinois and California, and raised a family throughout it all, and whose interest in art and creation, though undoubtedly impacted and obscured by the turbulence of his life, was not doused by poverty or circumstance, world politics or war.