Malevich Is Not Russian

Goda Smilingyte
2 min readOct 23, 2022

“Trying desperately to liberate art from the ballast of the representational world, I sought refuge in the form of the square.”⁠

This is how avangardist Kazimir Malevich (1879 — 1935) explains his most famous artwork “The Black Square”, painted in 1915.

Kazimir Malevich, The Black Square, 1915

Although considered to be a Russian painter, Malevich was born in Ukraine, in the family of ethnic Poles in 1879.

He studied the art school in Kiev and later, in Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.⁠

Inspired by cubism stars, Picasso and Braque, Malevich created complex and colourful cubist art, but left the complex structures in 1913 and arrived radically simplified style in 1915.⁠

Kazimir Malevich, Suprematist Composition, 1916

His art arranged geometric shapes, painted in flat colours, typically black, blue and mustard yellow — the birth of suprematism.

When Malevich died of cancer at the age of fifty-seven in Leningrad on 15 May 1935, his friends buried his ashes in a grave marked with a black square. ⁠

Works created by Malevich are among the most forged in the world.⁠



Goda Smilingyte

I help passionate art collectors and talented artists meet each other via my online art gallery