Vasilly V. Ushanoff

This self-taught artist did not begin to paint until ten years after his retirement from dentistry in Hollywood. His subjects varied, but he is mainly known for Russian-American history depictions, often using modern day models in his compositions, as with this Transfer Ceremony of the Alaska Territory. Here he has included central figures in Alaskan life, from historians to state officials, as well as his own family and friends.

Born in Manchuria, China, in 1904, Ushanoff graduated from high school in Harbin, China before emigrating to California on a Japanese ship. He worked a variety of manual jobs to earn enough to enroll in university. He ultimately received his degree from the University of California, San Francisco, and was a dentist in Hollywood for 30 years.

Well into retirement he discovered painting. As he had begun studying Russian-American history, this was a natural basis for his art. He collected many works of Russian American literature and took a number of photographs of Alaska life, and left much of his collection to the Alaska State Historical collections. There is a 1954 patent for a toothbrush holder in his name.

Transfer Ceremony of Alaska Territory

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