Party which is also known as Отдых (Общество в цилиндрах), or Rest, Society with Cylinders, was an early artwork from the career of Kazimir Malevich which was produced using a variety of media.
This lesser known artwork was produced using gouache, watercolor and ink on cardboard and can now be located in the Russian Museum in St Petersburg. It is only around 30cm in width and it would be later on that Malevich moved away from using cardboard for his designs, prefering stronger materials that would last the test of time. The painting itself features a caricature-like depiction of the upper-middle classes of that period, sat out in a local park or rural retreat, enjoying their leisure time. The content is unusual for Malevich as normally he would focus on the poorer elements of society, and became particularly famous for capturing local peasants within the Russian countryside. Here, perhaps, he is mocking the privileged just as seems popular in today’s world. There are more than twenty figures in total, going about various activities, including some actually relieving themself at the top of the artwork. Some may recall the work of William Hogarth upon seeing this painting, who gave us the contrast of Gin Lane and Beer Street in order to promote the use of one beverage over another.
The work is fairly bright, with bright green tones providing the green lawn on which these smartly dressed figures relax and play together. Each one appears to have been added individually, as there is no real interaction or merge between the different people included here. This gives it more of a cartoon-like style, where each figure is carefully placed into any available space across the centre of the composition. Most of the people here are women in long and graceful dresses, which white long material which covers all the way down to their feet. Black tones are then used for small bits of detail, such as a thick trim around the top and bottom of the design, with also some long gloves that appear in orange. The artist clearly aims to keep his palette to a minimum here and this helps to produce a consistent overall look, even with so much detail included.
In recent years efforts have been made to draw together all of the different artworks produced by Malevich across his career and to document them together. Many of his paintings were destroyed by ruling authorities within Russia who disapproved of his working style, but despite that many more have survived to the present day. It is paintings such as Party, or Rest, Society with Cylinders, that remind us about just how varied his oeuvre was across the full breadth of his career and that it would be wrong to just categorise him as an abstract artist, as some continue to do. There were plenty of portraits of local peasants, plus other experimental work in which he tried out all manner of different styles such as Impressionism, Expressionism and Post-Impressionism.