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Malevich, Kazimir Severinovich [Russian, 1878-1935]


[ Biography | 20th Century Artists | Cubist Artists ]
portrait

Kasimir Malevich (1878–1935). Russian painter and designer, with Mondrian the most important pioneer of geometric abstract art.

Born near Kiev; trained at Kiev School of Art and Moscow Academy of Fine Arts; 1913 began creating abstract geometric patterns in style he called suprematism; taught painting in Moscow and Leningrad 1919–21; published book, The Nonobjective World (1926), on his theory; first to exhibit abstract geometric paintings; strove to produce pure, cerebral compositions; famous painting White on White (1918) carries suprematist theories to absolute conclusion; Soviet politics turned against modern art, and he died in poverty and oblivion.

He began working in an unexceptional Post-Impressionist manner, but by 1912 he was painting peasant subjects in a massive ‘tubular’ style similar to that of Léger as well as pictures combining the fragmentation of form of Cubism with the multiplication of the image of Futurism (The Knife Grinder, Yale Univiversity Art Gallery, 1912). Malevich, however, was fired with the desire ‘to free art from the burden of the object’ and launched the Suprematist movement, which brought abstract art to a geometric simplicity more radical than anything previously seen. He claimed that he made a picture ‘consisting of nothing more than a black square on a white field’ as early as 1913, but Suprematist paintings were first made public in Moscow in 1915 and there is often difficulty in dating his work. (There is often difficulty also in knowing which way up his paintings should be hung, photographs of early exhibitions sometimes providing conflicting evidence.)


  Malevich, Kazimir Severinovich [Russian, 1878-1935]

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Title: The Knife Grinder (Principle of Glittering)
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Title: Morning in the Village after Snowstorm
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Title: Supremus No. 56
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Title: Suprematism
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Title: Suprematism
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Title: Suprematist Painting
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Title: Suprematist Painting
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Title: White on White
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Title: The Woodcutter
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