Apr 17, 1887 birth in Jelisavetgrad (now Kirovograd), Ukraine, in a Jewish family. Parents were fishmongers. Amshey was the elder of 10 children
1905 graduate from the Jelisavetgrad high school, where the arts were taught by Ilya Repin's apprentice Feodosiy Kozachinsky
1905-11 studies at the Odessa School of Arts in the class of Professor Cyriaque Costandi with sponsorship of German engineer Oscar Berens; see four letters of Berens (pdf 3 MB)
1911-13 stay in Paris, studies in private academies of arts, work as an art reporter for a Paris newspaper in Russian «Paris Bulletin» («Парижский вестник»). Sharing an atelier with Marc Chagall in the phalanstery La Ruche in the Passage de Dantzig, 4
1913 return to Jelisavetgrad, teaching activities
1915 move to Odessa. Organisation of the «Society of the Independent» transformed in 1918 into the «Association of Independent Artists». Joint exhibitions with a group of modernists called later «Odessa Parisians».
1915 marriage with a ballerina Polina Mamichava (1894–1978)
1918 foundation of the «Free Studio» together with the «Children Academy». Teachers were the artists who studied in France (Amshey Nurenberg, Sigismund Olesevich, Alex Fasini, Theophil Freiermann, Isaak Malik). Among Nurenberg learners were Victor Midler (later the senior curator of the Department of the modern Russion art of the Tretyakov Gallery), wife Polina Mamicheva, and Naum Sobol (stage designer)
1919 People's Commissar of Arts of Odessa and the head of the Committee for Protecting the Artistic and Historic Heritage
1919-20 editor-in-chief of the first Soviet newspaper in Jelisavetgrad «Red Village» («Красная деревня»)
1920-21 move to Moscow, work in the ROSTA Windows together with Vladimir Mayakovasky, Ivan Malyutin, and Mikhail Cheremnych; making over 60 «windows» with 4-9 posters each
1920-24 professor of history of the Western art at the VKhUTEMAS
1921 organisation of the «New Society of Painting» (НОЖ) together with artists Alexander Gluskin, Samuel Adlivankin, Georgy Ryazhsky, Mikhail Perutsky, and others
1921-22 mission to Uzbekistan together with Victor Midler and Polina Mamicheva for organisation of restoration of cultural and historic monuments
1923 birth of daughter Nina (soloist of the Bolshoy Theater of the USSR under the name Nina Nelina)
1923-25 joint exhibitions with the former members of the group «Jack of Diamonds» (1910–17) and writing the art manifesto for their new society «Moscow Painters» under the chairmanship of Peter Konchalovsky
1924-26 first arts columnist of the newspaper «Pravda»
1927-29 Mission to Paris by the People's Commissar of Education Anatoly Lunacharsky as «cultural ambassador» for lecturing on new Soviet arts and writing surveys on French arts for the Soviet press. Participation in the Paris «Salon d'automne» 1927
1930s contribution to the organisation of the Moscow Regional Union of Soviet Artists (МОССХ), work for the Museum of Revolution, trips to gather material for creative work to kolkhoz's of Ukraine and North-Caucasus and to coal-fields of Kuzbas
1941-43 evacuation to Tashkent during the war. Work at the Uzbek union of artists
1943 return to Moscow. Work for the Museum of Revolution
1950s retirement. Continuation of active artistic and literary work, including participation in exhibitions, writing memoirs, and publications in newspapers and journals
Jan 10, 1979 death at the age of 91 in Moscow. Burial at the Vagankov cemetery