Untitled (Suprematist Composition) by Kazimir Malevich

This drawing was produced in gouache and pencil on paper. It can be found in the collection of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, USA. It has been given a very loose date of around 1919-26.

The artist would sketch out his ideas before then producing more precise drawings in which he would really try to fully prepare for the oil versions that would normally follow. We have found sketchbooks from his career which host large numbers of these practice pieces, most of which would never have been intended t to have been seen by the public. Interest and valuations have grown so much for the best known artists that anything from their career will be in high demand, even study items which they never considered important within their own lifetimes. You will find similar with sculptors too, where their original moulds can command significant valuations but also can help in academics learning more about their own techniques of production. Oil painters might also have extra phases where studies in oils were produced, which would bridge the gap between drawing studies and the final oil painting.

Within this composition which was produced using gouache on paper, we find several long rectangles lined up together reaching out vertically. The shapes are filled in different combinations, some with black, some dark grey and others are left entirely blank other than a subtle border to signify the shape. There are then some smaller shapes leaning to their side to the right, as well as a black triangle. The overall piece is framed with a light grey border which helps to provide some sort of enclosure within the larger piece of paper, with empty space left all around it. There are some small signs of age upon the paper itself, and it must be remembered that despite this being so contemporary in style, the artwork is still approximately around a century old.

Piet Mondrian was another highly notable painter from the first half of the 20th century that was to help the promotion of modern art ideas through his own career. Some of the highlights from his considerable oeuvre included Composition C, Composition in Oval with Color Planes 1 and Composition in White Black and Red, with all of these items bearing some similarities with the more abstract work of Kazimir Malevich. The two would join various members of the Cubist movements plus a number of related artists in pushing these new ideas right across Europe. It took some time, but eventually the use of extreme abstraction would be accepted into the mainstream by both the public but also academics as well. These artists took much of the early resistance, but their achievements made it easier for future artists to work successfully within similar styles.

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