Running Man 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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Running Man, Sensation of an Imprisoned Man and Complex Presentiment Half-Figure in a Yellow Shirt provide an idea of how Malevich worked within the genre of portraiture as he moved into the modern art styles for which he is most famous today. His abstract shapes of the Suprematist movement are adapted to re-connect us with forms with which we can identify from real life once more.

The man in front of us is pictured sign on as he rushes off to our left hand side. He has a slim frame with simple clothing which was entirely typical of the region during that time. His green tunic features black detailing and his hands and feet are produced in black oils. His trousers are white with little other detail. His face is anonymised, mainly black with some white paint around the edges. He runs on a road which is in bright stripes of colour, orange, black and red. In the background we find a blue sky which dominates most of the rest of the scene, though with a large red cross and a number of small buildings, presumably humble homes, which are placed directly on the horizon. Each of the tones in this painting are not purely added, they each have variations in brightness which gives a different impression to his other artworks where uniform colours were sometimes used across entire shapes.

This painting can be found at the Georges Pompidou Center, Paris, France, making it one of very few paintings from Malevich's career to be found within that country. It is dated at around 1932, placing it just a few years before the artist passed away. Malevich himself produced different styles of human figures where they would appear as something only close to humanity, akin to a scarecrow perhaps. The faces would often have curved gradients, whilst much of the rest would be flat and somewhat sinister in tone. The Running Man may refer to the treatment of peasants within the artist's local community, running from the authorities as Socialism was enforced more and more aggressively across the country. The peasants and other rural workers were responsible for feeding the nation and so they would be pressured into following new rules rigidly and with gusto.

Alongside Malevich, there were also many other great names from the first half of the 20th century who helped to push things on once more from the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements which had dominated in the years leading up to these new ideas first starting to appear. One of the stars to appear was Piet Mondrian, someone who went from fairly standard styles of landscape painting slowly towards abstraction. He would eventually reduce his forms down to simple squares in primary and secondary colours and it is these works which remain his most famous. Highlights from his oeuvre specifically include titles such as Broadway Boogie Woogie, Gray Tree and Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow, though there were hundreds more to appreciate. He took on themes such as windmills and top down views of cities within a varied and excitingly vibrant career which remains highly regarded today.