Kazimir Malevich

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Malevich, Kazimir Severingvich


Born Feb. 11 (23), 1878, near Kiev; died May, 15, 1935, in Leningrad. Soviet artist.

Malevich studied in Moscow at the School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture in 1904 and 1905 and at the studio of F. I. Rerberg from 1905 to 1910. He participated in several exhibitions, including the Jack of Diamonds (1910), the Donkey’s Tail (1912), and the futurist 0.10 (1915-16). In the first decade of the 20th century, Malevich strove to combine the principles of cubism and futurism (Haymaking, 1909; A Station Without a Stop, 1911). He later became one of the pioneers of abstract art. Malevich explained his own work in a vague and mystical way. He reduced a physical object to combinations of the simplest geometric forms. These forms contrasted in color and were scattered about a plane. This artistic theory, which is known as suprematism, led from the very beginning to a denial of the social and cognitive tasks of artistic creation and painting proper (Black Square, 1913). In 1918, Malevich designed the set for the first staging of V. V. Mayakovsky’s Mystery-Bouffe.

In the early 1920’s, Malevich became interested in industrial and applied art. As a teacher in the People’s School of Art in Vitebsk (1919-22) and the director of the Leningrad State Institute of Artistic Culture (1923-27), he did research on the formal vocabulary of the plastic arts. He also worked out functional designs for dishes, designed textiles, and drew models for a new type of spatial organization. In the early 1930’s, Malevich made efforts to return to representational painting and to address himself to Soviet themes (The Girl With a Red Staff, 1932). All the aforementioned paintings are in the Tret’iakov Gallery.


Ot kubizma k suprematizmy. Paris, 1916.
Suprematizm. Vitebsk, 1920.
Essays on Art: 1915-1933. New York, 1971.


Fedorov-Davydov, A. Vystavka proizvedenii K. S. Malevicha. Moscow, 1929.
Reingardt, L. “Abstraktsionizm.” In the collection Modernizm. Moscow, 1973. Pages 112-15.
Kasimir Malevich: 1878-1935. An Exhibition. … London, 1959.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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One of Kazimir Malevich's greatest hopes for his art and artistic endeavours was to organise exhibitions abroad and I am so pleased we are able to continue doing so, bringing his mastery to new audiences in the region."
(2.) Kazimir Malevich, "Methods of Artistic and Professional Education" (1921), trans.
IRWIN'S varied points of references for this show include motifs like deer, coffee cup, Orthodox Christian icons, crosses, painters Kazimir Malevich and Frank Stella, and the monochrome -- a painting of only one color.
He cites sculptor Tony Smith, Suprematist founder Kazimir Malevich and ceramist Masamichi Yoshikawa as influences.
In terms of influences, they cite modernist visionaries like James Joyce, Gertrude Stein and the Russian abstract painter Kazimir Malevich, whose Suprematist Manifesto of 1926 called for the rediscovery of "pure feeling in creative art" (and whose geometric symbols are peppered throughout the opening episodes of Life and Times).
Often, I find myself carried away by an artist's vision, whether this is the result of being overwhelmed by the sheer visual pleasure involved in viewing a series of spiritual abstract paintings, such as Kazimir Malevich's work, or viewing the wonderful collaboration of Sonia Delauney and Blaise Cendrars, La prose du Transsiberien et de la petite Jehanne de France, in the show Inventing Abstraction: 1910-1925.
When the 1917 Russian Revolution abolished anti-Semitic laws, Chagall was appointed Fine Arts Commissioner in Vitebsk, but a conflict with the fellow painter and colleague Kazimir Malevich led to his resignation in 1920.
And he is particularly influenced by painters such as the Russian Kazimir Malevich and the Americans Mark Rothko, Franz Kline and Jackson Pollock.
This volume is published in conjunction with a dazzling 2011 exhibition organized at the Gagosian Gallery, New York--a special exhibition featuring six pivotal paintings by the Russian pioneer of abstract art, Kazimir Malevich (1878-1935).
To the right of the figure there are a few Vitebsk homes, the blue cupola of an Orthodox church, and the Russian letters for "Oh God." Chagall executed this uncharacteristically gloomy painting as the Suprematist master Kazimir Malevich was trying to oust him from his position as head of the Vitebsk art school.
Early in his career as he sought to find an appropriate visual language with which to confront his position toward South African politics, Kentridge turned to Constructivist artists of postrevolutionary Russia such as Vladimir Tatlin and Kazimir Malevich, who had embraced abstraction to express their utopianism.