"The square is not a subconscious form. It is the creation of intuitive reason. The face of the new art. The square is a living, regal infant. The first step of pure creation in art."


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

  He began working in an unexceptional Post-Impressionist manner, but by 1912 he was painting peasant subjects in a massive 'tubular' style as well as pictures combining the fragmentation of form of Cubism with the multiplication of the image of Futurism. 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".

Malevich moved away from absolute austerity, tilting rectangles from the vertical, adding more colors and introducing a suggestion of the third dimension and even a degree of painterly handling, but around 1918 he returned to his purest ideals with a series of White on White paintings. After this he seems to have realized he could go no further along this road and virtually gave up abstract painting, turning more to teaching, writing, and making three-dimensional models. In the late 1920s he returned to figurative painting, but was out of favor with a political system that now demanded Socialist Realism from its artists and he died in neglect. However, his influence on abstract art, in the west as well as Russia, was enormous.


"Reaper on Red Background" (1912-13) Oil on canvas, 115 x 69 cm - 45 1/4 x 27 1/8 in. Fine Arts Museum, Gorki, Russia.

"Black Square" (1923-29) Oil on canvas, 106.2 x 106.5 cm - 41 3/4 x 41 7/8 in. State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

"Suprematist painting (with black trapezium and red square)" (1915) Oil on canvas, 101.5 x 62 cm - 40 x 24.4 in. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

"Bureau and Room" (1913) Oil on canvas, 79.5 x 79.5 cm - 31.3 x 31.3 in. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

"Boulevard" (1903) Oil on canvas, 80 66 cm - 31.5 25.98 in. Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

"Self Portrait" (1933) Oil on canvas, 73 x 66 cm - 28 3/4 x 26 in. State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Text source: 'Webmuseum' (www.ibiblio.org/wm).

Related Artists:

Related Terms: Abstract, Futurism, Cubism.


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