1.6.3.2 Suprematism (1913-1926)

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QUICK LINKS:
The Black Square, Malevich
White on White, Malevich

Black Circle, Malevich
Dynamic Suprematism, Malevich

Suprematism was one of the key movements of modern art in Russia and was particularly closely associated with the Revolution, after the rise of Stalin from 1924 and the imposition of socialist realism.

In 1927 Malevich published his book The Non-Objective World, one of the most important theoretical documents of abstract art. In it he wrote: ‘In the year 1913, trying desperately to free art from the dead weight of the real world, I took refuge in the form of the square.’ Out of the ‘suprematist square’ as he called it, Malevich developed a whole range of forms including rectangles, triangles and circles often in intense and beautiful colours. These forms are floated against a usually white ground, and the feeling of colour in space in suprematist painting is a crucial aspect of it.

[Source: tate.org.uk]

[1632-10]


Image source: tate.org.uk
Kasimir Malevich’s painting, Black Square was first displayed in 1915. In 1916 the artist, in a characteristically bold and provocative mood, declared the square to be the face of the new art … the first step of pure creation.

Malevich gave his new art a name, ‘suprematism’, announcing a few years later that To the Suprematist the visual phenomena of the objective world are, in themselves, meaningless; the significant thing is feeling.
[Source: tate.org.uk]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Black Square, The1913-5Oil/CanvasAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Malevich, Kasimir1878-1935, aged 57RussianSuprematism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1632-11]

State Tretyakov Gallery,  Moscow, Russia, 11901880 x 80  
A white square floating weightlessly in a white field, Suprematist Composition: White on White was one of the most radical paintings of its day: a geometric abstraction without reference to external reality.

Yet the picture is not impersonal: we see the artist’s hand in the texture of the paint and in the subtle variations of the whites. The square is not exactly symmetrical, and its lines, imprecisely ruled, have a breathing quality, generating a feeling not of borders defining a shape but of a space without limits.

Malevich was fascinated with technology and particularly with the airplane. He studied aerial photography and wanted White on White to create a sense of floating and transcendence.
[Source: moma.org]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
White on White1918Oil/CanvasAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Malevich, Kasimir1878-1935, aged 57RussianSuprematism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1632-12]

MOMA, Museum of Modern Art, 11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019, USA79 x 79 

Image source: wikimedia commons
The black circle is located in the upper right hand corner of the canvas. When a person first sees the painting, it appears to be a simple black circle on a white background, but upon closer inspection, a person is able to see that the circle seems to draw you in, causing several significant spiritual feelings to surface.

The piece is one of the best known paintings of the style, along with his other works including Black Square. It illustrates pure geometric shapes in one of the primary colours. The painting was first displayed in an exhibition held in St. Petersburg in December 1915. It was one of the 35 pieces shown, all of which were abstract art pieces.
[Source: kazimirmalevich.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Black Circle1923-4Oil/CanvasAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Malevich, Kasimir1878-1935, aged 57RussianSuprematism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1632-13]

State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg Russia106 x 106  
Dynamic Suprematism is an abstract oil painting, square in its proportions, by the Russian artist Kazimir Malevich.

Pictured against an off-white background, the canvas features at its centre a large pale blue triangle that is tilted at a slight angle towards the left of the composition. Painted on top of the central triangle and congregated around its three points is a sequence of geometric forms in a range of colours that are positioned at varying angles.

Particularly prominent are a small triangle in deep blue towards the top of the work, a bright yellow rectangle to the right of centre and a larger cream rectangle just below it.
[Source: tate.org.uk]

Image source: tate.org.uk
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Dynamic Suprematism1925-6Oil/CanvasAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Malevich, Kasimir1878-1935, aged 57RussianSuprematism
LOCATION:SIZE (cms):  
Tate Galleries, Millbank, Westminster, London SW1P 4RG UK80 x 80  

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Back to 1.6.3.1 Futurism b (1909-44)

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