KAZIMIR MALEVICH BIOGRAPHY

1878

Kazimir Severinovich Malevich is born in Kiev on 11 (23) February to Severin Antonovich Malevich (1845-1902), manager of a sugar refinery, and his wife Lyudviga Alexandrovna (1858-1942). He is the eldest of fourteen children, five of whom die in chilhood. Spends his childhood and youth in the village of Parkhomovka, near Belopolye, where he completes five year agricultural school, and Konotop.

1895

Enters the Kiev School of Drawing.

1896

The family moves to Kursk and he joins a local circle of art-lovers and amateur painters.

1898

In his autobiography, Malevich call this years "the beginning of his public exhibitions", though non documental evidence supporting this claim has been found.

1899

Marries Kazimira Ivanovna Zgleits (1883?-1942).

1904

Moves to Moscow in the autumn and attends classes at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture and the Stroganov School.

1905

Returns to Kursk in the spring. Attemps to enrol in the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, but is unsuccessful, as he is the following two years. Shows works at a joint exhibition of Moscow and Kursk artists. Fights on the barricades during the events of the 1905 revolution in the Moscow in December.

1906

Works in the studio of Fyodor Rerberg in Moscow (until 1910).

1907

Contributes to the 14th exhibition of the "Moscow Fellowship of Artists". Makes the acquaintance of Mikhail Larionov (1881-1964).

1908

Contributes to the 15th and 16th exhibitions of the "Moscow Fellowship of Artists".

1909

Divorces his first wife and marries Sofia Mikhailovna Rafalovich (18??-1925). Sofia's father owns a house in Nemchinovka, which Malevich often visits to live and work.

1910

Takes part in the 1st "Jack of Diamonds" exhibition.

1911

Shows works at the 1st Moscow Salon exhibition in February. Takes part in the 3rd exhibition of the "Union of Youth" in Petersburg in April/May, along with Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, Alexei Morgunov and Vladimir Tatlin from Moscow.

1912

Contributes to the "Union of Youth" exhibition and "Der blaue Reiter" in Munich. Shows more than twenty Neo-Primitive works at the "Donkey's" Tail exhibition held by Mikhail Larionov in Moscow. Meets the artist and musician Mikhail Matiushin (1861-1934).

1913

Takes part in the Debate on Modern Painting in Petersburg and Russia's 1st Evening of Speech-Makers in Moscow. Contributes to the "Target" exhibition. Design a series of Futurist publications. Shows Neo-Primitive works and paintings called "Transrational Realism" and "Cubo-Futurist Realism" at the last Union of Youth exhibition. The opera Victory Over the Sun (music by Mikhail Matiushin, libretto by Alexei Kruchenykh, prologue by Velimir Khlebnikov) is staged twice at the Luna Park Theatre on Officers Street in Petersburg in December. Malevich's set and costume designs are important in the development of Suprematism.

1914

Malevich and Morgunov hold a Futurist demonstration on Kuznetsky Most in Moscow, wearing red wooden spoons attached to the lapels of their coats. Contributes to the "Jack of Diamonds" exhibition and the Salon des Indépendents. When the First World War break out, collaborates with the Contemporary Lubok publishing house, drawing anti-German propaganda posters. Illustrates books by Alexei Kruchenykh and Velimir Khlebnikov.

1915

Contributes to the "Tramway V: 1st Futurist Exhibition" in Petrograd. Works on his first Suprematist painting. Writes the manifesto From Cubism to Suprematism. The New Painterly Realism, published by Mikhail Matiushin. Shows thirty nine works at the "0.10. Last Futurist Exhibition" under the common title of "Suprematism of Painting".

1916

Reads a paper entitled Cubism-Futurism-Suprematism at the Public Popular Scientific Lecture of the Suprematists, organized by Ivan Puni. Contributes to the "Magazin" exhibition. Shows sixty Suprematist canvases at the "Jack of Diamonds" exhibition. Creates the "Supremus" society with Olga Rozanova, Lyubov Popova, Alexandra Exter, Ivan Kliun and Vera Pestel and published a magazine with the same name.

1917

Following the February Revolution, Malevich is elected chairman of the art section of the Moscow Soviet of Soldiers' Deputies. Undertakes educational activities and works on a proposed People's Academy of Arts. Appointed commissar for the protection of monuments of antiquity in November. Speaks at a public debate entitled Pornographic Painting and Literature.

1918

Publishes articles in the Anarchy magazine. Elected to the Department of Fine Arts (izo Narkompros). Writes a declaration of artist's rights. Moves to Petrograd. Designs the sets and costumes for a production of Vladimir Mayakowsky'play Mystery Bouffe. Sits on the commission for the organization of a Museum of Artistic Culture.

1919

Returns to Moscow. Heads the Suprematist studio at the Free State Art Studios. Shows Suprematist works at the X State Exhibition (Non-Objective Creativity and Suprematism). Moves to Vitebsk in November to take up a post at the Vitebsk School of Art, headed by Marc Chagall. Publishes the theoretical work Concerning the New Systems in Art. Hold his first retrospective exhibition, "Kazimir Malevich: His Path from Impressionism to Suprematism", in Moscow in December.

1920

Organizes the unovis (Supportes of the New Art) group in Vitebsk with El Lissitzky, Lazar Khidekel, Ilya Chashnik and Nina Kogan. Reads a lecture Concerning the New Art at the unovis conference in Smolensk. Heads work on the town decorations for Vitebsk to celebrate the third anniversary of the October Revolution. His daughter Una is born on 20 April.

1921

One-day unovis exhibition in Vitebsk. Contributes to the art exhibition accompanying the third congress of the Comintern in Moscow.

1922

Writes the manuscript Suprematism: The World as Non-Objectivity or Eternal Rest and publishes the treatise God is Not Cast Down: Art, Church, Factory in Vitebsk. Moves to Petrograd at the start of June, accompanied by a number of students and members of unovis. Takes part in the work of the Museum of Artistic Culture in Petrograd. Contributes to the "Erste Russische Kunstausstellung" in Berlin.

1923

Second one-man show in Moscow marking his silver jubilee as an artist. Reads a paper at the State Academy of Artistic Sciences in Moscow. Contributes to the collective unovis entry at the "Exhibition of Pictures of Petrograd Artists of All Directions". Designs new forms and decorative patterns based on Suprematist principles for the State Porcelain Factory in Petrograd.

1924

Becomes director of the State Institute of Artistic Culture in Leningrad and head of his formal and theoretical department.

1925

Reads the paper Concerning the Additional Element in Art at the State Academy of Artistic Sciences. Contributes to the Left-Wing Tendencies in "Russian Painting Over Fifteen Years" exhibition. Works on volumetric Suprematist models called Architectons. His second wife, Sofia, dies.

1926

Shows Architectons at the annual representative exhibition of the Institute of Artistic Culture. Leningrad Pravda prints Ginger Sery's negative review of the exhibition, "A State Supported Monastery", and the Institute of Artistic Culture is closed down. The Institute's forthcoming miscellany, including Malevich's "Introduction to the Theory of the Additional Element in Painting", is not published. The Institute of Artistic Culture is broken up in December.

1927

Leaves Russia in March to hold a one-man show in Warsaw and then Berlin. Given his own space to show works at the "Große Berliner Kunstausstellung" (May to September). Returns to Russia on 5 June without his paintings, entrusting them and the accompanying explanatory tables and theoretical notes to the German architect Hugo Häring (part of the collection later finds its way into the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam). Malevich's book Die gegenstandslose Welt is published in the Bauhausbücher series. Nikolai Punin invites him to contribute to the "Exhibition of New Tendencies in Art" at the Russian Museum in Leningrad. Marries his third wife, Natalia Andreyevna Manchenko (1902-1990).

1928

Works at the State Institute of the History of the Arts. Publishes articles in New Generation, a Kharkov monthly. Returns to easel painting on the eve of his planned one-man show at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. Repaints the works of his "Peasant cycle" (dating them 1908-1912) and Impressionist period (dating them 1903-1906). Teaches at the Kiev Institute of Art (until 1930).

1929

Holds a retrospective exhibition at the Tretyakov Gallery. Contributes works to an exhibition of abstract and surrealist art in Zurich. His department at the Institute of the History of the Arts is closed down.

1930

Modified version of the Tretyakov Gallery exhibition opens in Kiev. Contributes to the "Sowjetmalerei" exhibition in Berlin and "Russische Kunst von heute" in Vienna. Arrested in autumn and released in early December.

1931

Designs a painting for the interior of the Red Theatre in Leningrad.

1932

Awarded a laboratory for holding experiments at the Russian Museum in Leningrad. His works are included in the "Art of the Era of Imperialism" exhibition at the Russian Museum and the jubilee exhibition of "Artists of the RSFSR Over Fifteen Years". Contributes to exhibitions of Russian art in the United States. Works on a painting, Soc-City, that is never completed. Starts to autentically date his works, mostly portraits painted in a realistic manner.

1933

Falls seriously ill.

1934

Contributes to the "Woman in Socialist Construction" exhibition in Leningrad.

1935

Shows his recent portraits at the 1st Exhibition of Leningrad Artists, the last showing of his work in Russia until 1962. Dies in Leningrad on 15 May. He is cremated and the urn of ashes is buried in Nemchinovka. The site is marked by a white cube and a black square designed and made by Nikolai Suetin (destroyed during the Second World War). In 1988, a memorial plaque of a white cube and a black square is erected on the conjectural burial spot.



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