Kasimir Malevich

Kazimir Malevich


Born February 23, 1879 died May 15, 1935

Kazimir Malevich was a Russian painter who pioneered the Suprematism movement, which was a style of avant garde art that focused around geometric shapes.

He was born in Kiev, which is now in present day Ukraine. His parents were of polish descent and they moved to Kiev after the January Uprising of 1863 which was where polish people living in the former Polish-Lithuanian Common-wealth rebelled against Russia’s enlisting of Polish men into their army. The Uprising lasted two years from 1863 until 1865.

Kazimir’s father, Seweryn Melawicz was the manager of a sugar factory. His parents had fourteen children and among them, Malevih was the oldest.

Growing up Malevich moved around the villages of Ukraine to and from sugar-beet plantations. He did not know of any professional artist because he never lived around the wealth in society but he made embroidery and decorated walls and stoves.

After the death of his father in 1904, Malevich moved to Moscow and studied at the school Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture. In Moscow he studied and exhibited his art developing his style in an Avant Garde manner with influences of Cubism and the Russian folk art called lubok. In 1912 he described his works as “Cubo-Futuristic”

In 1914 Malevich exhibited his works in the Salon des Independants in Paris.

In 1915 Malevich presented his manifesto for Suprematism to the world, entitled From Cubism to Suprematism. This included the works of Black Square and White on White.




After his success in the modernist art movement, Malevich became a member of the Collegium on the Arts, and the Commission for the Protection of Monuments and the Museums Commission until 1919. He also taught at the Leningrad Academy of the Arts, the Vitebsk Practical Art School, The Kiev State Art Institute, and the House of the Arts in Leningrad.

In 1923 he became the director of Petrogard State Institution of Artistic Culture until 1926 when it was force to close after comments of it being counter revolutionary by a local newspaper. By then Social Realism was the style Communists had adopted and even though all of its rules contradicted Malevich’s own beliefs about art, he put up with it anyway in order to not gain attention from the communist party.

Eventually he left Russia and traveled to Warsaw where he was welcomed by the pioneers of the Unism movement, Wladyslaw Strzeminski and Katarzyna Kobro. This was a movement that was highly influenced by Suprematism. After Warsaw he went to Berlin and Munich where he was first greeted by the recognition he deserved. He left his paintings behind in Germany when he left to returned to the Soviet Union and the change because the nearing of Lenin’s death and Trotsky’s fall from power foreshadowed a change in the social attitude towards Modernist art. This came true and authorities and critics banned Malevich from making his art. He responded by saying “Art does not need us, it never did”.

In 1927 he wrote the book, The World as Non-Objectivity.

On May 15th, of 1935 Kazimir Malevich died of Cancer.






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