Kazimir Severinovich Malevich was a Russian painter and art theoretician. He was a pioneer of geometric abstract art and the originator of the avant-garde, Suprematist movement.
Kazimir Malevich was born Kazimierz Malewicz to a Polish family. In 1904 he moved to Moscow. He studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture from 1904 to 1910 and in the studio of Fedor Rerberg in Moscow (1904 to 1910). In 1914 Malevich exhibited his works in the Salon des Indépendants in Paris together with Alexander Archipenko, Sonia Delaunay, Aleksandra Ekster, and Vadim Meller, among others. Malevich also co-illustrated, with Pavel Filonov, Selected Poems with Postscript, 1907–1914 by Velimir Khlebnikov and another work by Khlebnikov in 1914 titled Roar! Gauntlets, 1908–1914, with Vladimir Burliuk.
In 1915, Malevich laid down the foundations of Suprematism when he published his manifesto, From Cubism to Suprematism. In 1915–1916 he worked with other Suprematist artists in a peasant/artisan co-operative in Skoptsi and Verbovka village. In 1916–1917 he participated in exhibitions of the Jack of Diamonds group in Moscow together with Nathan Altman, David Burliuk, Aleksandra Ekster and others. Famous examples of his Suprematist works include Black Square (1915) and White On White (1918).
In 1918, Malevich decorated a play, Mystery Bouffe, by Vladimir Mayakovskiy produced by Vsevolod Meyerhold. He also was interested in aerial photography and aviation, which led him to abstractions inspired by or derived from aerial landscapes.
Critics derided Malevichs art as a negation of everything good and pure: love of life and love of nature. The Westernizer artist and art historian Alexandre Benois was one such critic. Malevich responded that art can advance and develop for arts sake alone, saying that art does not need us, and it never did.
Malevich died of cancer in Leningrad on 15 May 1935. On his deathbed he was exhibited with the black square above him, and mourners at his funeral rally were permitted to wave a banner bearing a black square.