Autumn Landscape with Yellow House was an abstract landscape scene produced by Russian painter Kazimir Malevich in 1906, making it one of the earliest paintings from his career.
This very small artwork was produced on cardboard using oils and underlines how the artist worked in the earlier part of his career. He had trained in the styles of Impressionism and several movements which came from that and would consequently work in a similar method soon after completing his artistic training. Ultimately, this spell would not last long and soon he would be working in a more personal way, once his own aspirations and preferences started to take over from his initial learning. At that point he would move towards a more modern approach but, that said, this particular painting still holds a fairly contemporary style, with a very relaxed attention to precise form and clearly no desire to precisely copy reality onto the cardboard. In some ways it might remind us of some of Mondrians’s landscapes once he had started on his path towards true abstraction, which some believe to be amongst his most charming artworks of all – see Woods near Oele, Church Tower at Domburg and Gray Tree for examples of this.
We can see a small yellow house emerging from behind a myriad of narrow trees. The detail is rough and expressive, with this piece seemingly produced in a rural setting and in an experimental manner as the artist continues to try out new ideas in this early part of his career. It would only be later when he became more established that highly polished pieces would start to appear, at which point he would also swap cardboard for more solid materials such as wood or traditional stretched canvases. Oils would dominate throughout, and he rarely dabbled with watercolours for this type of work. He would however also start to illustrate books as an alternative form of expression and found additional income for helping out others in this way. Most artists will work hard to express themselves in as many ways as possible in the early years before really understanding what methods they prefer, before then later specialising.
This lesser known piece was featured within a catalogue raisonne of the artist’s career, confirming as close as possible its attribution. Efforts have often been made with the most famous artists to collate all of their work together, so that one can enjoy and learn from the full breadth of their achievements, as well as to provide a comprehensive clarification over the authenticity of items linked to their careers. These lists can be amended every now and again as new items appear, and often it will be smaller pieces which are added in, such as study drawings or early work such as the painting found here, which were not previously known about.