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Wednesday
Sep222010

The Abstract Art of Kazimir Malevich – Expressionist Abstract Artist

Kazimir Malevich was an art theoretician and designer is considered to be one of the 20th century’s most influential artists. He is regarded as the originator of Suprematism - a Russian abstract art movement that was characterized by the use of just a small number of colours and a few fundamental geometric shapes. Suprematism focused on pure form and its spiritual qualities. Malevich was one of the Russian avant-garde movement’s most prominent members. He was also a pioneer of geometric abstract art.
Kazimir Severinovich Malevich was born near Kiev of Polish parents on the 11th of February 1878 and was the eldest of fourteen children. Malevich’s father was an expert in sugar beet processing machinery. The family had to move frequently as sugar beet processing plants were generally built far away from big cities. Malevich’s formal education was only rudimentary. At the age of fifteen he got his first paints and started painting. He took up studies at the Kiev School of Art in 1895.
While living in Kursk Malevich painted his earliest landscapes. In 1903 he joined the Moscow Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. The early years of Malevich’s career were characterized by his participation in various avant-garde exhibitions. At the Donkey’s Tail exhibition in 1912, he exhibited his Primitivist depictions of peasants.
It was in 1913 that Malevich began painting in the abstract art style which he named Suprematism, making abstract geometric patterns in the process. That same year, he had created the first ever suprematist painting – ‘Black Square on White’ which in his words conveyed "the supremacy of pure feeling in creative art". Only two years earlier, he had painted ‘Morning in the Country’ in a cubic abstract art style with cylindrical shapes of peasants being a prominent part of this painting.
1913 was also the year when Malevich was swayed by the way Mikhail Larionov interpreted futurism, an important abstract art movement, resulting in works such as ‘Woodcutter’, ‘Peasant Woman with Buckets’, and ‘Morning after a Snowstorm in a Village’. These works incorporated shapes that looked as though they were enveloped in metal. Malevich designed the costumes and sets of the first Futurist opera – Victory over the Sun. At an exhibition held in 1915 in Petrograd, Malevich exhibited his geometric non-objective Suprematist paintings. After a sequence of White on White paintings in 1918, Malevich practically withdrew from abstract art painting and devoted more time to teaching and writing. He also created three-dimensional models that played a significant role in the development of Constructivism.
The year 1919 saw Malevich investigating how Suprematism could be applied in a three-dimensional way in architectural models. In 1922 he went to Leningrad where he was to remain for the final years of his life. He was given a solo exhibition in Moscow in 1929 in the Tretiakov gallery. Malevich used the representational painting style in the works he created during his last period. He passed away on May 15, 1935, a victim of cancer. The coffin he was buried in was one which Malevich himself had adorned with suprematist patterns.

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Reader Comments (3)

The year 1919 saw Malevich investigating how Suprematism could be applied in a three-dimensional way in architectural models. In 1922 he went to Leningrad where he was to remain for the final years of his life. He was given a solo exhibition in Moscow in 1929 in the Tretiakov gallery. Malevich used the representational painting style in the works he created during his last period. He passed away on May 15, 1935, a victim of cancer. The coffin he was buried in was one which Malevich himself had adorned with suprematist patterns.

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