Kazimir Malevich And The Russian Avant-Garde
In 1915, Kazimir Malevich (1878-1935) radically transformed the course of twentieth-century art with his "Black Square" painting and his manifesto "From Cubism to Suprematism." These works espoused a new art of pure geometricism, intended to be universally comprehensible regardless of cultural origin. Although he is famed for his rigorous pursuit of the "non-objective," Malevich in fact explored many strands of painting, embracing at various stages Impressionism, Symbolism, Fauvism and Cubism, as well as traditional Russian folk art. Drawing on the collections of Nikolai Khardzhiev and Georges Costakis--the two leading collectors of Russian avant-garde art, whose collections were largely assembled at a time when abstract art was banned in the Soviet Union--this catalogue traces the breadth of Malevich's career through his oil paintings, gouaches, drawings, sculptures and designs for opera and film. All phases of his development are represented here, from his early Impressionist-style work to his iconic Suprematist pieces, as well as his lesser-known figurative paintings and works on paper. These are contextualized alongside work by Malevich's contemporaries, such as Marc Chagall, Wassily Kandinsky, Natalia Goncharova, Vera Pester, Ivan Puni and Mikhail Meno.