Kasimir Malevich was born in 1878 in Kiev.
In the late 1800’s he studied at the Kiev School of Art. In 1900 he left and started working on his art. These early works were described as ‘Impressionist’. From his early days, Malevich was not concerned with nature or analysing his visual impressions, “But with man and his relation to the cosmos”.
From 1905-08 Malevich painted a number of works that were appealing. They were executed with a highly rhythmic brushstroke, different to many artists of this time. In terms of construction they were based on and influenced by the work of C?zanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Derain whom he had studied.
‘The Flower Girl’ of 1904-05 is typically Impressionist, with a strong horizontal division cutting the background scene, with a “rhythmic brushstroke” being used. (Not near Abstraction).
Malevichs first independent works date from 1908, these were large gouache (water coloured) paintings of peasant rural themes-related to the Agricultural series, which he had viewed.
It is evident throughout his gouache works there is a shortening of perspective. “Peasants in Church” of 1909-10 is of a mass of static, interwoven people, where three-dimensional space has been all but crowded out. The people have lost any separate identity of “form, face or gesture”.
“The Woodcutter” of 1911 is Malevich’s first known Cubo-Futurist work. The figure has merged with the background of cylindrical logs. The 3D perspective has been replaced by colour contrast, to indicate the solidity of form. (Moving towards abstraction)
“Malevich has no elegance, his full intense colour is applied in a dense, even rhythm”.
Towards the end of 1913, he was influenced by the Synthetic Cubist works by Picasso and Braque. This lead to a change in colour and the abandonment of Cubo-Futurism. Malevich put odd figures and shapes in his work, attempting a collage, taking his work to “surrealist proportions”. An “Englishman in Moscow”(see right) is evident of this. (Abstract tendencies in work)
Malevich has experimented with many types of art, but is most well known for his Suprematist work, which he is said to have started in 1913. This movement lead him towards abstraction, where his work became strange and obscure, where the artist himself could only understand the work. Much of this work is reported to have been displayed upside down as it has no features to notify which way it was designed.
During his time as an artist religion was a large influence in his style of work.