Kazimir Malevich

Kazimir Severinovich Malevich ( Polish Malewicz, Ukrainian transliteration Malevych, German Kasimir 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 so-called Russian avantgarde.

Malevich was born in Kiev, Ukraine, under the Russian Empire. He studied at the Kiev School of Art (1895–1896), 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 (1913) and White on White (1918).

Black Square, 1913Malevich 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.

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).