Suprematism (1916) 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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This bright abstract artwork displays a style which dominated the oeuvre of Malevich across the middle of the 1910s. He would produce many paintings in this manner for a period of several years before then moving on from the original format of the Suprematist movement.

Here we find some interesting shapes which form a fairly complex arrangement when compared to some of Malevich's other contributions to the Suprematist movement. A thick brown rectangle hangs from the top of the canvas at a slight angle and this angle continues into most of the other shapes which are spread even across the scene. A thin black line works horizontally and intercepts most of these other shapes, with a real mixture of widths and tones used to produce one of the more colourful items from his work in this movement. The background is a white or creme tone which may well have changed over the years since this painting was produced, such is the common impact of light, particularly where artworks are not stored in ideal conditions. Perhaps most memorable is a black circle with tail like flourish that may remind some of the form of a fish and this creeps in from the top of the painting, almost giving an impression that we are in the deeper regions of the sea and small creatures are dotting about in their natural environment.

One can take many iterpretations from this style of art, though in truth Malevich was normally trying to avoid leading us and allow us to make up our own minds without any preconceived ideas. He desired a new reality, where one's mind was free to start from scratch each and every time that they viewed this period of his career. He would then later return to depicting items from reality once more as he continued to evolve over the course of his life, having initially been an Impressionist artist in the very early days. That was more about his training than any preference internally, and it was not long before his real tastes started to appear for the first time as he moved away from the teachings of his art student life. This is entirely common within the lives of most famous artists who take time to understand how they like working and much experimentation can be involved in getting onto the new path.

Whilst Malevich remains highly regarded across the world, and his influence fully understood, most still see Kandinsky as a superior force within abstract art. His classic works included Squares with Concentric Circles, Composition VII and Composition VIII and these show clear similarities with the Suprematist world of Malevich. They had similar backgrounds too, but Kandinsky relocated to Germany where he felt more able to build a career without too much political or social interference. Today they are often presented together because of how some parts of their oeuvres bear similarities, but there were also other periods in which they were very different and so it is important to handle their achievements separately and as unique bodies of work. Today both are regularly featured within art exhibitions right across the world, partly aided by how widely their paintings have been dispersed over the years that have passed since.