Artist profile

Kasimir Malevich

Kasimir Malevich is a profoundly influential figure in the history of modern art. Born in Kiev, Ukraine (then part of Russia) in 1879, he was of Polish descent. In 1915, the artist laid out his beliefs in an iconic manifesto, outlining Suprematism and the value of pure aesthetic feeling derived from geometric shapes. His emblematic Black Square painting (1915) is one of the defining works of Modernism and Malevich is recognised as one of the pioneers of abstract art. His work was revolutionary and had complex theoretical underpinnings; influenced by philosophy, literature, folk art and ideas about the fourth dimension.  Through Suprematism, Malevich intended to liberate painting from the shackles of representation and to raise it to a higher state and into greater spatial freedom.  

Censored in Soviet Russia for many years, his work remained little known for decades however he is now recognised as a leading force in the development of modern art.


Born in Kiev Governorate of Russian Empire, now Ukraine
Moved to Moscow, after the death of his father
Studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture; and in the studio of Fedor Rerberg in Moscow
Taught at the Vitebsk Practical Art School in Belarus
Founded and led UNOVIS (also known as MOLPOSNOVIS and POSNOVIS), a short-lived but influential group of artists, at the Vitebsk Art School
Died in Leningrad, Soviet Union