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Kazimir Malevich

Russian and Soviet artist of polish descent
Selfportrait by Malevich, 1910/11

Kazimir Severinovich Malevich (23 February 187915 May 1935) was a painter, art theoretician, pioneer of geometric abstract art and one of the most important members of the Russian avant-garde. He was also the founder of the art movement Suprematism.

Contents

Quotes of MalevichEdit

sorted chronologically, by date of Malevich's quotes
 
Malevich, 1905-06: 'Farmhouse', oil on canvas
 
Malevich, 1908: 'Society at promenade'
 
Malevich, 1911: 'Bather', gouache on paper; current location: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
 
Malevich, 1912: 'Morning in the Village after Snowstorm', oil on canvas; location ?
 
Malevich, 1913: 'Portrait of Mikhail Matjuschin', oil-painting on canvas; current location Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow; quote Malevich, 1913: 'we have found another reason that could be called trans-rational, which has its own law, construction and sense.. .This reason has found a way-Cubism-of expressing the object'
 
Malevich, 1915: 'Suprematism / Русский: Супрематизм', oil-painting on canvas; current location: Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg
 
Malevich, 1915: 'Black square', oil on canvas; Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

; - quote of Malevich, 1926: 'I took refuge in the square form and exhibited a picture which consisted of nothing more than a black square on a white field' ]]

 
Malevich, 1920-22: 'Mystic Suprematism' (black cross on red oval), oil-painting on canvas; current location: Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
 
Malevich, 1928-29: 'Supremus No. 67'; - quote of Malevich, 1926: 'To the Suprematist the visual phenomena of the objective world are, in themselves, meaningless; the significant thing is feeling'
 
Malevich, 1928-29: 'To the Field, II' (Marthe and Jeannot); current location: Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg; quote of Malevich, 1932: 'Painting has turned back from the non-objective way to the object, and the development of painting has returned to the figurative part of the way that had led to the destruction of the object. But on the way back, painting came across a new object that the proletarian revolution had brought to the fore and which had to be given form, which means that it had to be raised to the level of a work of art..'
 
Malevich, 1928-30: 'The Sportsmen', current location: Russian Museum, Petersburg
 
Malevich, 1932-33: 'Girl with a red pole', oil on canvas; current location: Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
 
Malevich, 1933: 'Selfportrait'; oil on canvas
 
Malevich, 1934: 'Portrait of Una [Malevich]', oil on canvas; private collection

Quotes, 1910 - 1920Edit

  • We have rejected reason because we have found another reason that could be called trans-rational, which has its own law, construction and sense.. .This reason has found a way-Cubism-of expressing the object.
    • Quote from Malevich's letter to the composer Matiushin, June 1913; as quoted in Futurism, ed. Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 266
  • The rectangular picture-plane indicates the starting point of Suprematism; a new realism of color conceived as non-objective creation. The forms of Suprematist art live like all the living forms of nature. This is a new plastic realism, plastic precisely because the realism of hills, sky and water is missing. Every real form is a world. And any plastic surface is more alive than a (drawn or painted) face from which stares a pair of eyes and a smile. [1914]
    • In: Artists on Art; from the 14th – 20th centuries, ed. Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 452
  • ..[to gather] under a new banner.. ..[that the poets of yesterday's Futurism ] change the means of battle with thought, content, and logic.. ..advance Alogism after Futurism.
    • Quote, Nov. 1915; as cited by Vasilii Rakitin, in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 26
  • Dynamism is also the forming formula for Futurists works; i.e. dynamism is the additional element that transforms the perception of one state of phenomena to another, for example, from a static to a dynamic perception.
    • Quote c. 1915 in 'Cubofuturism', Malevich, in his Essays on Art, op. cit., vol 2; as quoted in Futurism, ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 59
  • There is movement and movement. There are movements of small tension and movements of great tension and there is also a movement which our eyes cannot catch although it can be felt. In art this state is called dynamic movement. This special movement was discovered by the futurists as a new and hitherto unknown phenomenon in art, a phenomenon which some Futurists were delighted to reflect.
    • Quote, c. 1915 in: 'Cubofuturism', Malevich, in his Essays on Art, op. cit., vol 2; as quoted in Futurism, ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 59
  • Balla, he advanced Dynamic Futurism.. ..drawing closer, not to the human body but to the machine, as contemporary muscles of a man of today.. .The actual structure of each of Balla's works tells us that the dynamic power sensed by the artist is incomparable greater than the actual bodies of the machines, and the content of each machine is only a small part of this dynamic power, since each machine is a mere unit from the sum total of the forces of contemporary life.
    • Quote, c. 1915 in: 'Cubofuturism', Malevich, in Essays on Art, op. cit., vol 2; as quoted in Futurism, ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, pp. 59-60
  • Papuans bored, but
    Cottage second-class
    Ticket. Park. Arch.
    • Kazimir Malevich, Jan. 1916, in his letter to Mikhail Matiushin; private archive, Frankfurt (transl. Todd Bludeau); as quoted by Vasilii Rakitin, in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 26
    • Malevich' example of the new poetic structures (the 3 lines loosely match his painting 'Stantsiia bez ostanovki Kuntsevo' (Through Station: Kuntsevo), 1913)
  • I possess only a single bare, frame-less icon [his Squares ] of our times (like a pocket), and it is difficult to struggle. But my happiness in not being like you [ Aleksandr Benois ] will give me the strength to go further and further into the empty wilderness. For it is only there that transformation can take place. And I think you are mistaken when you say in reproaching me that my philosophy will destroy millions of lives. Are you not, all of you, like a roaring blaze that obstructs and prevents any forward movement?
    • Quote in 'Letter from K. Malevich to art-critic Aleksandr Benois', May 1916; by Jane A, Sharp, in Chapter 'The Critical Reception of the 0. 10 Exhibition: Malevich and Benua', in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 44
  • I transformed myself in the zero of form and emerged from nothing to creation, that is, to Suprematism, to the new realism in painting – to non-objective creation.
    • Quote of Malevich, November 1916, in: 'From Cubism and Futurism to Suprematism: The New Realism in Painting'
  • At the present time man's path lies through space, and Suprematism is a colour metaphor in its infinite abyss. [1916]
    • Quote in 'On space and Suprematism', Kasimir Malevich, 1916; as quoted in Abstract Art, Anna Moszynska, Thames and Hudson, London 1990, p. 58
  • ..the art of futurism.. ..achieved great momentum in the first quarter of the Twentieth Century and remains a basic stimulus in the following forms of new art: Suprematism, Simultaneism, Purism, Odorism, Pankinetism, Tactilism, Haptism, Expressionism and Légerísm [referring to Fernand Léger in the last ...ism, mentioned]
    • In: 'Cubofuturism', Malevich, in Essays on Art, op. cit., vol 2; as quoted in Futurism, ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 59
  • The square is not a subconscious form. It is the creation of intuitive reason. The face of the new art. The square is a living, regal infant. The first step of pure creation in art.
    • Quote in 'From Cubism and Futurism to Suprematism: The New Realism in Painting', Kazimir Malevich, November 1916
  • Matiushin's sound [composer of the Futurist opera: 'Victory over the Sun', Malevich did the stage design] shattered the object-word. The curtain was torn, by the same token tearing the scream of consciousness of the old brain. [1917]
    • as quoted in Futurism, ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 266
  • ..[that] the overturning of the old world of arts will be etched across your 'palms' (recto)
    • admonition from the cover of Malevich's 'novykh sistemakh v iskusstve' (Vitebsk: Unovis, 1919); the cover is reproduced in Malevich: Suprematism and Revolution in Russian Art, Larissa A. Zhadova, (trans. Alexander Lieven); London: Thames and Hudson, 1982
    • the notice on the verso reads: 'Work and edition by the workshop [artef] of artistic labor at the Vitebsk Svomas'
  • Everywhere there is craft and technique, everywhere there is artistry and form. Art itself, technique, is ponderous and clumsy, and because of it awkwardness it obstructs that inner element.. .All craft, technique, and artistry, like anything beautiful, results in futility and vulgarity. [critical quote on Constructivism artists]
    • In: 'On poetry'; as quoted in Futurism, ed. Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 65
  • It is the experience of the speed of a plane, which was looking for an expression, a form and this caused the plane to come into existence. The plane was not built to take letters from Berlin to Moscow, but to give expression to the irresistible urge to create a form for the experience of speed.
    • As quoted in: Richtingen in de hedendaagsche schilderkunst (Trends in the Present Day Art of Painting), Jacob Bendien - W.L. & J Brusse, Rotterdam,1936, p. 100 (transl. Anne Porcelijn)
  • Only when the habit of one's consciousness to see in paintings bits of nature, Madonna's and shameless nudes.. ..has disappeared, shall we see a pure painting composition. I have transformed myself into the nullity of forms and pulled myself out of the circle of things, out of the circle-horizon in which the artist and forms of nature are locked.
    • as quoted in: Marc Chagall, – a Biography, Sidney Alexander, Cassell, London, 1978, p. 178
  • I have broken the blue boundary of color limits, come out into the white, besides me comrade-pilots swim in this infinity. I have established the semaphore of Suprematism. I have beaten the lining of the colored sky, torn it away and in the sack that formed itself, I have put color and knotted it. Swim! The free white sea lies before you.
    • In the 'Catalogue 10th State Exhibition', Kasimir Malevich, Moscow, 1919; as quoted in Autocritique, – essays on art and anti-art 1963 – 1987, Barbara Rose, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, New York, 1988, p. 71

Quotes, 1921 - 1930Edit

  • Man's skull represents the same infinity for the movement of conceptions. It is equal to the universe, for in it is contained all that sees in it. Likewise the sun and whole starry sky of comets and the sun pass in it and shine and move as in nature.. .Is not the whole universe that strange skull in which meteors, suns, comets and planets rush endlessly?
    • In: 'God is not cast down', Malevich, 1922; as quoted in Futurism, ed. Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 65
  • I paint energy, not the soul.
    • Quote of Malevich, 1924, in: 'Khudozhniki na dispute ob AKhRR', in 'Zhizn,' iskusstva 6 (transl. Todd Bludeau); as quoted by Vasilii Rakitin, in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 27
  • I recommend [the students] that you should work actively at the Hermitage and study the artistic structures of Rubens, Rembrandt, Titian, Watteau, Poussin, and other painters, even Chardin, where he is an artist. Study very closely their dabbing manner of execution and try to copy a small piece of canvas, just one square inch.
    • Quote in a letter of Malevich to his student Yudin, summer of 1924; as quoted in Marc Chagall – the Russian years 1906 – 1922, ed. By Christoph Vitali, exhibition catalogue, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 1991, p. 66
  • By Suprematism I mean the supremacy of pure feeling in creative art. To the Suprematist the visual phenomena of the objective world are, in themselves, meaningless; the significant thing is feeling.
    • In 'The Non-Objective World: The Manifesto of Suprematism', 1926; trans. Howard Dearstyne [Dover, 2003, ISBN 0-486-42974-1], 'part II: Suprematism', p. 67
  • When, in the year 1913, in my desperate attempt to free art from the ballast of objectivity, I took refuge in the square form and exhibited a picture which consisted of nothing more than a black square on a white field. The critics and, along with them, the public sighed, 'Everything which we loved was lost. We are in a desert.. .Before us is nothing but a black square on a white background!' But the desert is filled with the spirit of non-objective feeling.. ..which penetrates everything.
    • In 'The Non-Objective World: The Manifesto of Suprematism', 1926; trans. Howard Dearstyne [Dover, 2003, ISBN 0-486-42974-1], 'part II: Suprematism', p. 68
  • The world as a sense, independent of the image, of the idea - this is the essence of the content of art. [My] square is not an image, just as a switch or socket are not the current. - Malevich
    • Quote of Malevich, in his letter to Konstantin Rozhdestvenskii, 21 April, 1927, private archive, Moscow (transl. Todd Bludeau); as quoted by Vasilii Rakitin, in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 27
  • By Suprematism, I mean the supremacy of pure feeling in the pictorial arts. From the Suprematist point of view, the appearances of natural objects are in themselves meaningless; the essential thing is feeling – in itself and completely independent of the context in which it has been evoked. Academic naturalism, the naturalism of the impressionists, of Cézannism, of Cubism, etc., are all so to speak nothing but dialectic methods, which in themselves in no way determine the true value of the work of art.
    • Quote of Malevich, 1927 in: Artists on Art; from the 14th – 20th centuries, ed. by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, pp. 451
    • Malevich valued Cezanne's art as a temporarily necessary but still 'provincial art' in the long developing line of modern art
  • The representation of an object, in itself (the objectivity as the aim of the representation), is something that has nothing to do with art, although the use of representation in a work of art does not rule out the possibility of its being of a high artistic order. For the Suprematist, therefore, the proper means is the one that provides the fullest expression of pure feeling and ignores the habitually accepted object. The object in itself is meaningless to him; and the ideas of the conscious mind are worthless. Feeling is the decisive factor.. ..and thus art arrives at non-objective representation – at Suprematism.
    • Quote of Malevich, 1927 in Artists on Art; from the 14th – 20th centuries, ed. by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, pp. 452
  • Tatlin does not transcend the confines of Cubism.
    • Quote c. 1928, in 'The Constructive Painting of Russian Artists and Constructivism', in K. S. Malevich, Essays on Art, ed. Troels Andersen, (transl. Xenia Glowacki-Prus & Arnold McMillin), London: Rapp & Whiting, 1969, vol. 2, pp. 74-84
    • Malevich asked his students and followers to repeat this short sentence after him, during his teachings
  • I have not invented anything, only the night I have sensed, and in it the new which I called Suprematism.
    • Quoted in Dokumente zum Verständnis der modernen Malerei, Walter Hess, (Hamburg, 1956), p. 98
  • I too was filled with a sort of shyness and fear, as I was called to leave 'the world of will and idea' in which I had lived and created, and in whose reality I had believed. But the happy liberating touch of non-objectivity drew me out into the 'desert' where only feeling is real.. ..and so feeling became the content of my life. It was no 'empty square' I had exhibited but the feeling of non-objectivity. I perceived that the 'thing' and the 'idea' were taken to be equivalents of feeling, and understood the lie of the world of will and idea. Is the milk bottle the symbol of milk? Suprematism is the rediscovery of that pure art which in the course of time, and by an accretion of 'things', had been lost to sight.
    • As quoted in Artists on Art; from the 14th – 20th centuries, ed. by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 453
  • The principal element of Suprematism in painting, as in architecture, is its liberation from all social or materialist tendencies. Through Suprematism, art comes into its pure and unpolluted form. It has acknowledged the decisive fact of the nonobjective character of sensibility. It is no longer concerned with illusion.
    • As quoted in Marc Chagall, – a Biography, Sidney Alexander, Cassell, London, 1978, p. 194

Quotes, 1931 - 1935Edit

  • Painting has turned back from the non-objective way to the object, and the development of painting has returned to the figurative part of the way that had led to the destruction of the object. But on the way back, painting came across a new object that the proletarian revolution had brought to the fore and which had to be given form, which means that it had to be raised to the level of a work of art.. .I am utterly convinced that if you keep to the way of Constructivism, where you are now firmly stuck, which raises not one artistic issue except for pure utilitarianism and in theater simple agitation, which may be one hundred percent consistent ideologically but is completely castrated as regards artistic problems, and forfeits half its value.. .If you go on as you are.. ..then Stanislavski will emerge as the winner in the theater and the old forms will survive. And as to architecture, if the architects do not produce artistic architecture, the Greco-Roman style of Zyeltovski will prevail, together with the Repin style in painting..
    • Quote of Malevich from his letter 8 April 1932, to Meyerhold, in 'Two Letters to Meyerhold', in Kunst & Museumjournaal 6, (1990), pp. 9-10; as quoted by Paul Wood in The great Utopia, - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 24 – note 112
    • This quote clarifies Malevich's famous return to the figuration of the Russian peasant life, in the time of forced collectivization of Russian agriculture: 'for him [= Malevich] the return to figuration was not a break with the Revolution but a way of safeguarding it and preventing the return of Classicism and Naturalism' (Paul Wood in The great Utopia; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 24 – note 112)

Quotes about Kazimir MalevichEdit

chronologically arranged, by date of the quotes about Malevich
  • Without a doubt, this [Malevich' painting Black Square ] is the 'icon' which the [Russian] Futurists propose as a replacement for the Madonnas and shameless Venuses [besstyzhie venery]; it is that 'dominion' [gospodstvo] of forms over nature.. ..[in Malevich's system, at the base of which lies a] horrific means of mechanical 'renewal' [mekhanicheskoe 'vosstanovlenie'] with its machinishness.
    • quote of Benua, c. 1913; as quoted by Jane A, Sharp, in 'The Critical Reception of the 0. 10 Exhibition: Malevich and Benua', in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 42
  • [This] is not a chance little episode that occurred on the Field of Mars; it is one of the acts of self-affirmation the source of which has as its name the abomination of desolation. It [Malevich' Suprematist paintings] asserts itself through arrogance, haughtiness, and by trampling over all that is dear and tender; it will lead only to death.
    • quote of Benua, Late 1913; as quoted by Jane A, Sharp, in 'The Critical Reception of the 0. 10 Exhibition: Malevich and Benua', in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 44
  • Long live Unovis - the path to a Suprematist future - and long live Kazimir Malevich, the true guide along this path!
    • Quote of one of Malevich's art-students in Vitebsk, c. 1920; from a private archive, St. Petersburg; as quoted by Vasilii Rakitin, in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 30
  • For us [the young artists in Vitebsk, 1920] Suprematism did not signify the recognition of an absolute form which was part of an already completed universal system, on the contrary; here stood revealed for the first time in all its purity the clear sign and plan for a definite new world never before experienced - a world which issues forth from our inner being and which is only now in the first stages of its formation, for this reason the square [Malevich's] Black and Red Square ] of suprematism became a beacon.
    • Quote of El Lissitzky, from his essay of 1920, 'Suprematism in World Reconstruction'; as quoted by Sophie Lissitzky-Küppers, in El Lissitzky: Life, Letters, Texts, trans. Helene Aldwinckle and Mary Whittall (Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 1968), p. 327
  • This is the model we await from Kasimir Malevich. AFTER THE OLD TESTAMENT THERE CAME THE NEW AFTER THE NEW THE COMMUNIST AND AFTER THE COMMUNIST THERE FOLLOWS FINALLY THE TESTAMENT OF SUPREMATISM.
    • Quote of El Lissitzky in 'Suprematism in World Reconstruction', 1920; as quoted in Russian Art of the Avant-Garde: Theory and Criticism 1902-1934, ed. John E. Bowlt,Viking Press, 1976 p. 151 – 158
    • In this text 'Suprematism in World Reconstruction' Suprematism is postponed by El Lissitsky in a far wider concept than Malevich meant.
  • At present there is an extremely exaggerated formation of groups [students on the 'School of Art' in Vitebsk, founded by Chagall around 'trend'; there are 1. young people following Malevich and 2. young people following me. We both belong to the left-wing artistic movement, although we have different ideas about ends and means.
    • Quote of Marc Chagall (1920), in his letter to Pavel Davidovitch Ettering, 2 April, 1920, as quoted in Marc Chagall - the Russian years 1906 – 1922, editor Christoph Vitali, exhibition catalogue, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 1991, p. 73
  • Painting.. ..turned to the design of purely abstract volumetric forms.. .Since the leading exponent of the color theory was a painter (Malevich), he failed to recognize the objective reality of the world [in architecture!]. Because he always looked at it only through his own eyes, he remained trapped in a world devoid of real objects. The broader implications of this had to be developed by us, the architects.
    • Quote of El Lissitzky in: Chapter 'Basic Premises', in Rußland: Die Rekonstruktion der Architektur in der Sowjetunion, Moscow 1929; as quoted in: 'Interrelationships Between the Art, in: An Architecture for World Revolution', transl. Eric Dluhosch - MIT Press. Cambridge, MA: 1970
  • Typical for the difference between both art movements [Russian Suprematism & Constructivism (art) ] is that Malevich wrote a book entitled 'Gegenstandlose Welt' [World without objects / things]. Whilst El Lissitsky specifically mentioned Gegenstand (object!) in the magazine he published with w:Ilya Ehrenburg.
    • Quote of Jacob Bendien (1936), in Richtingen in de Hedendaagsche schilderkunst (Trends in the Present Day Art of Painting), Jacob Bendien; W.L & J. Brusse N.V. Rotterdam, 1935 (transl. Anne Porcelijn), p. 100
  • The Suprematists want, where possible, to give 'feelings' absolute supremacy. Even objects such as tables, chairs and beds are, according to Malevich, 'not objects but the form of plastic perceptions'.. .'The experience of sitting, standing or walking are, in the first place plastic experiences'.
    • Quote of Jacob Bendien (1936), in Richtingen in de Hedendaagsche schilderkunst (Trends in the Present Day Art of Painting), Jacob Bendien; W.L & J. Brusse N.V. Rotterdam, 1935 (transl. Anne Porcelijn), p. 101
  • From the beginning of the [Sovjet] Revolution I was a member of the Committee for Art.. .Later I worked at 'Izo Narkomprosa'. From 1919 I taught at the Higher Artists' Workshops in Vitebsk [the 'Vitebsk Higher Institute of Art', where El Lissitsky and Kazimir Malevich were invited to teach art by the director then Marc Chagall ] (our students Suetin, Judin and others).
    • Quote by El Lissitzky in: 'Autobiography of the artist', 1941; as quoted in 'El Lissitzky', ed. Henk Puts - A Catalogue of his Work, in the Stedelijk Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven; the Lissitzky-archives in the Van Abbe Museum, 1991
  • White was for Malevich the color of infinity, and signified a realm of higher feeling.. ..an utopian world of pure form, attainable only through nonobjective art. Indeed, he named his theory of art Suprematism to signify 'the supremacy of pure feeling or perception in the pictorial arts'; and pure perception demanded that a picture's forms 'have nothing in common with nature.' Malevich imagined Suprematism as a universal language that would free viewers from the material world.
    • Quote from the publication excerpt, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 85
  • In political terms, a question remains: what did it mean that Malevich turned again to depictions of peasant life at precisely the time of the forced collectivization of agriculture and the 'liquidation of the kulaks as a class', as Stalinist rhetoric chillingly has it? Whatever the answer to this question, a recently published letter of April 8, 1932, from Malevich to Vsevolod Meierhold makes clear that for him the return to figuration was not a break with the Revolution but a way of safeguarding it and preventing the return [in painting art] of Classicism and Naturalism.
    • Quote of Paul Wood in The great Utopia, - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 24 – note 112
  • Malevich, with his strikingly developed social instinct, once again attempted to outdo everyone upon his release from jail (after having been arrested in Kiev in 1930). In an ordinary composition of colored stripes he included a row of galloping cavalrymen. You want a 'Soviet' picture - here, take it! Many artists, incidentally, made similar gestures during these years when the "Soviet theme: painting" was affirmed as the basis of Soviet art. Malevich did not gain much by such a strategy and he resorted to it extremely rarely. It didn't help at all. One of his students still has a letter to Malevich (it arrived one day after his death) notifying him that his request for a pension had been turned down.
    • Quote of Vasilii Rakitin, in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 35
  • In one of his letters from Vitebsk to David Shterenberg in Moscow - a letter written in 1921, when the organization of the Erste russische Kunstausstellung (First Russian Art Exhibition, Berlin, 1922) was only beginning to be discussed - Malevich took pains to emphasize that he was an ideological worker in art. And that the Berlin exhibition would be of interest to him only if his "icons" - the Black Square, Chernyi krug (Black Circle), and Chernyi krest (Black Cross) - were exhibited. And exhibited only, moreover, under the rubric 'Suprematizm Rossiia'. 1913 (Suprematism: Russia, 1913). Nineteen thirteen?. ..Malevich, who was a genius at hypnosis, convinced not only everyone else but even himself that he had inaugurated Suprematism in 1913 - and not in any other year. His account of his own career is full of datings of works according not to the year in which they were produced but the year in which they were conceived.
    • Quote of Vasilii Rakitin, in The great Utopia - The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932; Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1992, p. 29

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