Bather is a memorable figurative painting by Kazimir Malevich from 1911, whose original Russian title was Купальщик. In now resides within the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands and is broadly classified as a Fauvist painting because of the bright tones used by the artist.
This portrait features elongated, over-sized body parts as a male figure makes his way across a barren landscape. Tones of red dominate here, and are used both on the subject himself as well as throughout the landscape as well. There are also blues and yellows, wth form produced from thick lines of black paint. This looks a fairly brisk artwork, where Malevich is working in gouache on paper and perhaps is expressing himself without too much forethought or in-depth planning. The artist would go through many stylistic changes during the 1910s, eventually ending up with his Suprematist approach which would become the main signature of his entire career. By that point he had moved into a truly abstract world, but in 1911 all features could still be identified, and they just were being presented within a modern approach that included great expression from the artist’s soul and imagination.
The most famous Fauvist artist would be Henri Matisse who gifted us some classic artworks and some comparisons can be made between the two artists, even though they were far apart geographically. Some of Matisse’s own Fauvist works included Portrait of Madame Matisse, Goldfish and Open Window. Both would also work in many other styles during their long and varied careers, underlining their ambitious natures and ability to re-invent themselves every now and again. Malevich himself is known to have been actually more influences by Russian painters, with an Avant-Garde which became involved with bringing new styles in, as well as considering the content of what was included too. Malevich would feature peasant life many times within his work and figurative work was a major genre in his oeuvre. He was trained in 19th century art but wanted to be original and ground-breaking with new, innovative methods that were always likely to cause controversy, which they did.
For all the challenges that he had during his lifetime, Malevich was able to achieve a huge amount. His influence would eventually spread right across Europe, thanks to the help of his followers who helped to draw attention to his work even when he was being oppressed by the Russian ruling powers. Art has a way of shining through eventually, and that was the case here, with his paintings left in Germany helping others to discover his ideas and then push them on once more. He remains regarded as one of the most important artists from this part of the world, and many others have cited his work as inspiration for their own, with his most popular items being classics such as White on White, Black Circle and Dynamic Suprematism, with many more besides being worthy of study.