Ukraine: The Avant-garde – Malevich

Black Square 1915

Kazimir Malevich is known in art history as a pioneer of modernist abstraction. Malevich was born in Kyiv to an ethnic Polish family. While he began his art studies in Ukraine, he did his most important work after he moved to Moscow in 1904 and is considered to be a leading artist of the Russian avant-garde. His seminal Black Square (1915) has become an emblem of the abstract tendency that culminated in the post-painterly tendencies identified as color field painting and hard-edge abstraction. Malevich returned to Kyiv to teach at the Kyiv State Art Institute (now the National Academy of Visual Arts and Architecture) between 1927 and 1929. Along with Alexander Archipenko, Vladimir Tatlin, Sonia Delaunay, and others, Malevich is claimed by Ukrainian art history for the Ukrainian avant-garde.