Born in Radautz, Romania, Emil Armin settled in Chicago, Illinois, in 1905 and became an oil painter, printmaker and sculptor in wood. He studied at the Chicago Art Institute with J. Wellington Reynolds, George Bellows, and Randall Davey and spent time painting and carving in New Mexico, Mexico, the Indiana Dunes, and Maine.
Stimulated by the encouragement of Bellows and Davey to paint that which inspired him and not that which pleased some academic, Armin developed a mature style that reflected his Romanian Jewish background with his craftsman father but focused on his native city of Chicago. He wrote:
“I found the characteristics of the environment I live in expressed in my work. I found the steel ribs of the tall towers in the construction of my compositions, the earth being pushed up out of the lake for an outer drive in the texture of the paint and the whistlings, screeches, electric flashes, whirrings and fast motion mixed with sunlight contained in the light of the paint. . . Environment speaks; and I have come to know myself as a natural expressionist for I hear, see and vibrate, without any special effort”. . .