This painting is a fine example of Malevich’s Suprematist style which came about during the 1910s. This particular piece is dated at 1916 and can now be found in St Petersburg at the highly respected Russian Museum, where the full breadth of this nation’s artistic output is on display.
This painting features a myriad of rectangles, arranged at different angles to give the impression of a random or organic construction. One immediately sees the more famous Kandinsky within this style, but Malevich was himself entirely unique in his approach and should be treated as such. We find a limited colour palette, where single plains of colour interest with each other, with mustard yellow, blue, black and creme being the most commonly used in this piece, all placed on top of a neutral white background. The blue in the background features a curved sweep which contrasts against the sharp lines of the rectangles which float above. Malevich attempts to create a new environment here, disconnected from reality and that was the purpose of working within such an abstract form. He would eventually run into controversy because of the modern nature of his work and was forced to return some semblance of reality, which led to the Neo-Suprematist movement a few years later.
In terms of Kandinsky, clear comparisons can be drawn with the likes of Composition VIII, Composition X and On White II. Crucially, Kandinsky would arrive at this point around a decade later, and so Malevich can be considered entirely original within how he brought about the abstract style. Both it must be said were highly ambitious and experimental, with Kandinsky also producing some stunning landscapes in more of an Expressionist format, as they continued to evolve across their influential careers.
It was the initial Suprematist style which remains the signature of Malevich’s career, and what most people think of when hearing his name. In fact he worked in a good variety of different styles during his life which only those who have taken the time to delve a little deeper would have noticed. Our paintings section attempts to draw all of these different styles by covering the stylistic breadth of his career, though not all of his output is currently listed there. The initial phase of many of his paintings would be done in sketches, and so his drawings are also of huge importance when considering his overall achievements. They today can command valuations in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, particularly when linked to some of his more famous paintings such as Black Square, Suprematist Composition, White on White and Black Circle.