Cubo-Futurist Composition with Piano by Kazimir Malevich

Cubo-Futurist Composition with Piano was completed by Kazimir Malevich over the period of 1913-1914 and it was during this part of his career that he focused intensely on working in the Cubist manner. Shortly afterwards he would again move on to try out other artistic styles.

This small artwork measures 39 cm in height by 31 cm in width. The artist takes a scene featuring a piano and then gives it the cubist treatment, which involves fracturing the composition into small sections which are then re-arranged to form the alternative Cubist world. Whilst there were several different techniques used under the umbrella of this movement, Malevich clearly liked this approach the most and would release a number within this style in the year of 1913. The item was snapped up by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, The Netherlands, though it probably made its way there via a Malevich collector who likely handed over a number of items to the gallery at the same time. You will therefore find a good number of paintings from the early part of his career together within this gallery – please check ahead if you wish to see a specific artwork because they have a large collection and are unable to have it all out on display at the same time and so rotate items from time to time, perhaps even loaning them out elsewhere on occasion.

Most of the artist’s Cubo-Futurist paintings have a large use of grey and light brown tones which are used in the background to avoid these complex compositions becoming too much for the eyes to bear. He will then use brighter tones for the objects that are re-arranged around the more central part of the painting. In this case we see a number of elements which are related to the piano and other parts of the scene, all sliced up and delivered separately. One must admit that this is one of the harder artworks to decipher of all those he produced over the period of 1913-1914. We find, first of all, a curved section of white with a grey border which is very prominent. There are then perhaps keys from the piano which resemble steps from a flight of stairs. There are then touches of green, orange, yellow and brown to complete a busy and interesting piece in which we are gratefully aided by the title of the piece, which helps us to atleast understand the basis of the content in front of us.

Malevich may not have continued with Cubism for too much longer but it is wrong to say that he did not impress with these artworks. He simply wanted to carry on his development and find other ways to express himself, which is exactly what he did. By the end of his experimentation he had delivered work within multiple movements, including also Impressionism, Fauvism and also further examples of Cubism. This whole period across Europe was a time of exciting new ideas and he wanted to be a part of that, whilst eventually choosing abstraction as his chosen path. He would also desire a uniqueness to his oeuvre which could not be achieved by following others, and so eventually he would forge very much his own path and for that he achieved far greater respect from within the art world. Today he is rightly regarded as one of the most important Russian artists in history.

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