Born in Vinnitsa in the Ukraine, Altman studied in Odessa before moving to Paris in 1910 mixing with the Russian colony of artists there, Chagall, Archipenko among them. Returning to St Petersburg, Altman became a member of the Board for Artistic Matters within the Department of Fine Arts of the People’s Commissariat of Enlightenmenttogether with Malevich, Baranoff-Rossine and Shevchenko in 1918. In the same year he had an exhibition with the group Jewish Society for the Furthering of the Arts in Moscow, together with El Lissitzky and the others. In this same year, he installed a temporary work of architectural sculpture in Palace Square to commemorate the 1st anniversary of the October Revolution. In 1920, he became a member of the Institute for Artistic Culture (INKHUK), together with Malevich and Tatlin. Altman moved to Paris in 1928. In 1936, he returned to Russia and worked mainly for the theatre and as a book illustrator.