Saturday, April 21, 2007

Kazimir Severinovich Malevich

Kazimir Severinovich Malevich (Malewicz, Malevych, Malewitsch), (February 23, 1878 – May 15, 1935) was a painter and art theoretician, pioneer of geometric abstract art and one of the most important members of the Russian avant-garde.

Malevich was born near Kiev, Ukraine. He studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1904–1910) and in the studio of Fedor Rerberg in Moscow (1904–1910).

After early experiments with various modernist styles including Cubism and Futurism — as exemplified by his costume and set work on the Cubo-Futurist opera Victory Over the Sun — in 1915, in Petrograd, he introduced his abstract, non-objective geometric patterns in a style and artistic movement he called Suprematism; famous examples include Black Square (1915) and White on White (1918).

Black Square, 1915, Oil on Canvas, State Russian Museum, St.PetersburgMalevich was a member of the Collegium on the Arts of Narkompros, the commission for the protection of monuments and the museums commission (all from 1918–1919); later on, he taught at the Vitebsk Practical Art School in Russia (now part of Belarus) (1919–1922), the Leningrad Academy of Arts (1922–1927), the Kiev State Art Institute (1927–1929) and the House of the Arts in Leningrad (1930). He wrote the book The World as Non-Objectivity (Munich 1926; English trans. 1976) on his theories.

In 1927, he went to Germany for a retrospective that brought him international fame, and arranged to leave most of the paintings behind when he returned to the Soviet Union. When the Stalinist regime turned against modernist "bourgeois" art, Malevich was persecuted. Many of his works were confiscated or destroyed, and he died in poverty and oblivion in Leningrad, Soviet Union (today Saint Petersburg, Russia).