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Kazimir Malevich

Kazimir Severinovich Malevich (Polish Malewicz, Ukrainian Malevych, German Kasimir Malewitsch), (February 12, 1878 - May 15, 1935) was an Ukrainian 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. He studied at the Kiev School of Art (1895 to 1896, the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture (1904 to 1910) and in the studio of Fedor Rerberg in Moscow (1904 to 1910).

After early experiments with various modernist styles including Cubism and Futurism, in 1915, in Petrograd, he introduced his abstract, non-objective geometric patterns in a style and artistic movement he called Suprematism; one of his most famous painting is White on White (1918).

Self portrait, 1933

Malevich 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 to 1919); later on, he taught at the Vitebsk Practical Art School in Belarus (1919 to 1922), the Leningrad Academy of Arts (1922 to 1927), the Kiev State Art Institute (1927 to 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 and/or destroyed, and he died in poverty and oblivion in Leningrad, Soviet Union (today Saint Petersburg, Russia).

see also: Alexander Brener

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