Black Square and Red Square Kazimir Malevich Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Black and Red Square is perfectly accurate to the styles found in the Russian Avant Garde. Malevich himself was an integral member of that group.

The squares represent how the artist would reduce compositions down to their smallest component parts. Many will instantly see a similarity with many famous Kandinsky paintings, such as Squares with Concentric Circles, Composition VIII and Transverse Line. Their careers were intertwined stylistically but also with diversity at other points in their career. Abstract art at this point was at a very early stage and just starting to gain traction with art academics. This was a familiar path for all new movements during the 20th century.

The painting titled Red and Black Square is amongst Malevich's most simplistic abstract work, though not quite as extreme as Red Cross and Black Cross. White on White, incorporating some elements in off-white for the purposes of some minimal contrast, was as abstract as Malevich could go. The remaining contributions to his oeuvre beyond this style included some landscape paintings and figurative portraits of the working poor.

The composition features a large black square above a smaller red square that itself is tilted slightly to one side. The background is a flat layer of white, deliberately plain and unobtrusive to the main focal point of the painting. Emotion and spiritualism were represented by these shapes. Sadly, in recent decades, the authentication of this painting has been called into question. No mention of it has been found prior to the 1970s which immediately raises some question marks. Considering the lack of documentation around this artist’s life as a whole, that does not conclusively prove anything just by itself. The style is perfectly in line with Malevich's paintings of around 1915 - the date given to this piece.

Research was carried out in the painting's pigments which revealed a higher level of a type of Carbon than would have been found prior to the 1950s. The true date was given to around the 1970s, removing any possibility of it being directly from the hand of Kazimir Malevich.