Kazimir Malevich (1878 – 1935) was born in Kiev but began his artistic career in Moscow after becoming involved with the Russian avant-garde. He started off by painting peasant scenes in a range of styles influenced by Cubism, Futurism and Post-Impressionism although he was keen to move beyond art related to nature.
This led to the development of his Suprematist paintings, a style consisting of simple geometric shapes on white backgrounds and a topic which he spent much of the rest of his life teaching and writing about. It is this style for which he is most famous for today.
The Tate retrospective of Malevich’s work is without a doubt one of the best exhibitions I have seen. To witness Malevich’s transformation of artistic style from Post-Impressionism to Cubo-Futurism to Suprematism was completely mesmerizing.
The final room shows how Malevich’s artistic innovation was curtailed with the rise of Stalin as leader of the Soviet Union. Although he returned to his earlier style of figurative painting, Malevich’s suprematist masterpieces were sadly deemed too revolutionary by the Soviet state.
Image via tate.org.uk