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Kazimir Malevich Artist Biography

Russian painter, printmaker, decorative artist and writer Kazimir Malevich was a radical, mysterious and hugely influential figure in Modern Art, who lived and worked through one of the most turbulent periods in twentieth century history. Kazimir Malevich was born in Kiev in 1878, one of six children to Russified Poles. He developed a passion for art during his teens. In 1904, having saved money from his job as a railroad clerk, Malevich moved to Moscow to study art full-time at the Moscow Institute of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture. Under the tutorship of Fedor Rervberg, Malevich produced Symbolist, Impressionist and Art Nouveau work. In 1907, Malevich first took part in the Moscow Artists' Society's twice yearly exhibition along with such artists as David Burliuk, Aleksander Shevchenko and Natalia Goncharova. In 1909, with a broad knowledge of Western art, there was a move in Malevich's work towards Post-Impressionism. With the influence of contemporary French art, however, and of the Russian avant-garde, Malevich's style developed into one of Cubo-Futurism.ᅠ

In 1913, Malevich met a group of artists and poets interested in taking a more philosophical and theoretical approach to art. The theory espoused by Krucherykh and Khlebnikov of the 'self-sufficient world' influenced Malevich enormously. The notion of 'zaum' was promoted, a state where experience occurs beyond the naturally perceived world. This concept and his work for the Cubo-Futurist opera 'Victory Over The Sun' (1913) propelled Malevich into the style of Suprematism. Malevich's Suprematist work was first seen at the '0,10' (Zero-Ten) exhibition of 1915, in paintings such as 'Black Square' (1915) and 'Black Cross' (1916-1917). Suprematism reduced Abstract painting to a previously unheard of geometrical simplicity. His work at this time ranged from the austere with his 'White on White' series to the colourful such as in 'Yellow Parallelogram on White' (1917). Kazimir Malevich produced a great deal of work during his Suprematist period and in 1919, having decided his exploration of this area was complete, he turned to teaching. He began teaching at the Vitebsk Popular Art School and soon became its director. In 1922 he settled in Petrograd and taught at the Institute for Artistic Culture from 1922 to 1927. In the late Twenties he took up figurative painting once more, depicting peasants in colourful and highly stylised works, for example 'Woman with a Rake' (1928-1932). In 1927, Malevich traveled with an exhibition of his paintings to Warsaw and also went to Berlin, where his work was shown at the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung. In Germany he met Jean Arp, Naum Gabo, Le Corbusier, and Kurt Schwitters and visited the Bauhaus. His work, however, was in opposition to the ideology of the government at that time and Malevich fell out of favour. Because of his connections with German artists, he was arrested and many of his manuscripts were destroyed. He died of cancer on May 15, 1935, in Leningrad.

More art prints from Kazimir Malevich

The Black Circle By Kazimir Malevich
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