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Kazimir Malevich

February 23, 1879 - May 15, 1935


Kazimir Severinovich Malevich was a Ukrainian painter and art theoretician, born near Kyev when it was part of the Russian Empire. He was a pioneer of geometric abstract art and the originator of the Suprematist movement.

Before World War 1, Russia was an avant-garde center of theatre, dance, music and art and in 1904 he moved to Moscow to study. In 1915 he published his manifesto “From Cubism to Suprematism” to explain his theories around abstract art based on geometric forms. Artists such as László Moholy-Nagy and El Lissitsky were influenced by these theories and Wassily Kandinsky and Sonia Delaunay created their own concepts relating to geometry.

Suprematism was closely associated with the Russian Revolution’s early years but fell out of favor with the rise of Joseph Stalin. In 1927, a retrospective of Malevich’s work toured Warsaw, Berlin, and Munich and led to his international reputation. Malevich did not bring most of these paintings back to Moscow because Social Realism was the art now favored by the government, everything else was suspect.

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