Kazimir Malevich

Malevich Kazimir

Kazimir Malevich, also Kasimir (1878-1935) was a Russian avant-garde painter, the founder and leading artist of the Suprematist movement, and one of Russia's best-known modern painters.


Kazimir was born in Kiev on February 11, 1878 (old-style February 23). According to his memoirs, his father was a specialist in sugar-beet processing machinery, and since sugar-beet processing plants were usually built away from large cities, the family moved often while Malevich was a child. In about 1890, the father was transferred to the plant in the village of Parhomovka, situated between Kiev and Kursk, and Malevich was sent to the village’s 5-year school, which he finished in 1894. He later wrote: “The villagers […] were making art (I did not know the word for this yet) […] I was very excited to watch the peasants paint; I helped them cover the floors of their houses with clay and paint motifs onto the stoves.”

In 1896, the family moved to Kursk, where his father began to work in a railroad management office as a clerk. Among his father’s colleagues, there were a few people who admired art and a couple of amateur painters. Malevich made friends with them quickly and they organized a small art circle, with two professional artists joining in eventually. Malevich began to paint in an Impressionist style. To earn money for a Moscow education, he began working in the same office as his father as a draftsman.