Kazimir Malevich

Kazimir Malevich (b. 1879 Kyiv, Ukraine, d.1935, Leningrad, Russia) grew up in rural Ukraine where he developed a love of peasant art and embroidery. After his father died in 1904, he  studied painting, sculpture, and architecture in Moscow, developing a 'Cubo-futuristic' style influenced by his folk art roots. In the following years, against the backdrop of the October Revolution,​ Malevich inventd Suprematism, the core principles of which he laid out in his manifesto 'From Cubism to Suprematism' in 1915. His Suprematist work was first seen at the 0,10 (Zero-Ten) exhibition of 1915, in paintings such as 'Black Square' and 'Black Cross.' In the late 1920's he traveled to Warsaw and Berlin with an exhibition of his work, which brought him international recognition and acclaim. The Stalinist Soviet government opposed his work and all forms of 'bourgeois' art, however, and Malevich fell out of favour. Many of his manuscripts were destroyed, many of his works were confiscated and he was banned from creating and exhibiting similar art. He was imprisoned for two months toward the end of 1930 and tried to flee Leningrad after his release. In 1932, the Soviet government proclaimed a new totalitarian socialist-realist aesthetic, a political dictatorship in art, which excluded the possibility of any modernist movement or abstract painting. Predating the Nazi idea of degenerate art, a large exhibition of formalist tendencies was presented in Leningrad and in Moscow during the winter of 1932-33. This was the last public presentation Malevich's work in his lifetime. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1933, denied permission to travel abroad to receive medcial treatment, and died in Leningrad in March 1935. Malevich's Suprematist work and theories had tremndous impact on the development of abstract art in the Soviet Union, Western Europe, and the United States, and he is considered one of the most influential artists in the 20th century.

Selected solo exhibitions include: 2013-14: Kazimir Malevich and the Russian Avant-Garde, The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Nedetherlands; 2003-04: Kazimir Malevich: Suprematism (travelling), Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin, Germany; Soloman R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; The Menil Collection, Houston, TX, US; 1988: (travelling), Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg; Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherland; 1980: Kunsthalle Dusseldorf, Dussselforf, Germany; 1978: Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne, Germany; 1929: Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia; 1919-20: Kazimir Malevich. His path from Impressionism to Suprematism, The Sixteenth State Exhibition, Moscow, Russia.

Last updated: 07.03.2022


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