When the Bolshevik Revolution followed WWI, Fechin left Russia for America after six years of privation. He was immediately popular in New York City with portrait commissions from celebrities and a first prize for portraits from the National Academy in 1924. His more famous subjects are Nikolai Lenin, Karl Marx, Frieda Lawrence and Lillian Gish.
In 1927, he moved permanently to Taos, beginning at once on his stream of portraits of Southwestern types, painting by day and sculpting at night. Fechin never lacked technical deftness but he did limit depicted emotions to “rugged and sober” for Indians and “exuberant and pleasing” for his other sitters. After a bitter divorce in 1933, he traveled through Mexico, making drawings. In 1938 he moved to Bali but was forced back to the U.S. by WWII. Fechin settled in Santa Monica, again painting people of the Southwest. He settled in teaching small groups of students and painting. He died there in 1955.
Fechin’s work is in major collections such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum of Oklahoma City, and the San Diego Museum of Art with his largest collection of work in Kazan, Russia at the Fechin Center.