Malevich, Kazimir Severinovich (1879–1935) By Railing, Patricia
During his studies with the Russian Impressionist Fedor F. Rerberg in 1906 Moscow, Kazimir Malevich learned color theory and the craft of Impressionist painting. In 1910 Malevich was painting in a bright Fauve style, and by 1912 he had mastered the structures of Parisian Cubism and elements of the Futurist movement, combining these styles in pieces such as Knifegrinder (1912). Malevich referred to the amalgamation of these two styles as Cubo-Futurism. Between 1913 and 1915 Malevich created highly accomplished Cubist paintings, and his early 1915 canvases were increasingly dominated by planes of pure colors floating over the Cubist contrast of objects. By the summer of 1915 Malevich was solely painting planes of colors in light on his canvases, a style he called Suprematism, by which he meant the “domination” of color within light. He explored color in light in his paintings from 1916 to 1918 in several ways, including using spinning discs and projectors to cast rays of light onto a white screen of pure light. This resulted in the discovery that spinning discs produce centrifugal forces, and he thus called his paintings, “Supr[ematist] Construction of Colour” where “construction” refers to “force.” In 1918 to 1919 Malevich painted light itself in White on White (1918), while also exploring cosmic space in Suprematism of the Mind (Suprematism of the Spirit) (1919–1920). Out of the range of modern artistic trends during this time, Malevich created paintings of pure color, light, and non-objectivity, which itself became a leading modernist trend.