Born in Kyiv, he grew up in Moscow with his mother (his father, a lawyer, died when he was 4), and when he was 16 years old they moved to Crimea. He went to school in Feodosia and, against his own inclination to study history and languages was sent to Moscow to follow in his father's footsteps and study law.
Three years later he was expelled from the university after taking part in radical student actions and demonstrations, and went abroad - to Berlin, where he attended lectures in philosphy at the university, and to Paris, where he began to paint, under the influence of the Russian painter Yelizaveta Kruglikova, whose studio in Paris was magnet for young poets and artists of what was later called the Silver Age. He was strongly attracted to the work of classic Japanese painters like Hokusai and Utamaro with their attention to detail, and later painted many watercolours of Crimean landscapes.
During the period up to the revolution Voloshin continued to live abroad, writing poetry - often with anti-war themes during the period of the 1st World War - and exploring ideas - buddism, catholicism, freemasonry and the occult. But in 1916, aware of the looming crisis in Russia, he returned to Crimea, saying "when a mother is sick, the children don't leave her". While he sympathised with many of the social objectives of the revolution, he was appalled by the human cost of the civil war which followed it, and was actively involved in providing humanitarian assistance to both sides.
After the establishment of the Soviet Union, Voloshin's house in Koktebel became a meeting place for writers and artists from all over Russia. Poetess Marina Tsvetayevna regarded him as her mentor and met her future husband while staying at Voloshin's house. She described Voloshin at that time as having `a lion's mane of hair around classic greek features, often barefoot, wearing a loose overall instead of a tunic..." Others who spent time there include the poet Osip Mandelshtam and writers Maxim Gorky and Ilya Ehrenburg.
Mikhail Bulgakov, best known as the author of `The Master and Margerita', was invited to come and stay in the house in Koktebel by Voloshin after his first novel `The White Guard' began to be serialised in the journal "Russia" in 1925. Voloshin was one of the first to recognise his talent and continued to encourage him after his return to Moscow to face a barrage of criticism for his sympathetic portrayal of a group of White Army officers during the civil war, and the book's lack of a communist hero.
The ground floor of the house on the Koktebel seafront is a formal exhibition of watercolours by the artist, along with a collection of memorabilia , including `Order no. 44' of 1920 - an instruction to revolutionary soldiers not to touch the house (Lenin is said to have taken a personal interest in ensuring Voloshin's safety). Upstairs, the library has a pleasantly untidy `lived-in' feel, with a cosy alcove lined with japanese paintings he had collected (below)