The Gardener by Kazimir Malevich

The Gardener was a Fauvist artwork by Kazimir Malevich which he produced in around the year 1911, before then switching to Cubist styles soon afterwards. This painting can be found in the permanent collection of the Stedelijk Museum in central Amsterdam, Netherlands.

There are several interesting elements to this painting. See, first of all, the bright colour scheme which was certainly adapted to whatever the artist saw in reality at the time of creating this painting. Malevich creates the main outlines of each form before then applying a precise palette across the whole work which helps to deliver a consistent look. Reds are applied in almost random parts of the painting, such as the gardener’s left hand, as well as a hood that hangs over his head. He also had abnormally large hands and feet, something that the artist continued in his figurative paintings many times. Green tones are then featured right across the rest of the work, along with touches of light orange and blue. We see a tall figure in front of us with a spade as he gets hard into his work. In the background is another gardener as well as many potted plants which are strewn all around the composition. The artist also uses one of the pots to add his signature in a cheeky manner in the bottom right of the canvas.

Fauvism was a form of contemporary art which was popular during the first hald of the 20th century and Malevich became inspired enough by it to create several paintings in this style. Others would become more famous when using it, where as Malevich wanted to move on quickly and try out alternative methods. He would famously create Impressionist and Cubist paintings in the next few years before eventually finding his way into the abstract world which give him the most success. Malevich would have been particularly young at the time of this artwork, though starting to build some momentum within his career. He would get by as best he could, sometimes producing portraits of friends and family in order to better perfect his natural artistic abilities. Fauvism would perhaps work best with landscape art rather than content such as this, as often within those scenes light would naturally bounce around, making it perfectly reasonable to include different tones all across the canvas and in places that you might not normally expect to find them.

At this point in his career Malevich loved to capture figurative art with minimal detail. He focused on rough forms and an expressive manner that was very much in vogue for the forward-thinking artists around at this time. He would look across to western Europe for ideas at this stage, but there were also some highly influential Russians too that could send creativity back in the opposite direction. Over time there would also a number of Russians who would emmigrate across to the west, bringing yet more ideas and creativity to that region. A number would also come from Eastern Europe, in and around the boundaries of the Soviet Union and would sometimes find it harder there to be as creative and innovative as they would have liked, hence their movement across to the likes of the UK, France and the US.

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