Masters of Art: Malevich

Masters of Art: Malevich

  • ISBN-13: 9780810936454
  • $18.37

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Under tsarist as well as Communist rulers, Malevich often worked in a coded language, as Charlotte Douglas, the leading American authority on Malevich's work, explains in this revealing new book. She shows how Malevich used icons and church figures in sometimes irreverent, sometimes deeply reverent, contexts. Despite factional disputes with his colleagues and the desperate privations that Malevich and his family had to endure, he managed to forge an oeuvre of brilliantly coloristic work, from his early Symbolist self-portraits, experimental city paintings, and monumental peasant works of the 1900s to the astonishing abstractions of the 1910s and early 1920s. In the last five or six years of his life, Malevich turned to a style with echoes of Holbein and Southern Renaissance artists, but Douglas also has ferreted out Malevich's relationship with the contemporary Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico. With this startling information, first published here, Douglas leads us to a profound reassessment of this towering figure. Throughout his personal crises, Malevich continued to teach and to influence many leading figures in the Soviet art world of his time and later. His writings and lectures still have vital resonance for our generation - as is evident from several of his own pedagogical charts reproduced here and from his letters, some of which are used here for the first time. Official recognition, however, was uncertain, and when he was offered an exhibition in Leningrad, he contrived to copy his early representational work and put false early dates on it - at least partly in an effort to avoid attacks from the proponents of Socialist Realism. This is only one of the surprising aspects ofMalevich's life that Douglas has uncovered in years of research in the Soviet Union.

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