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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.

Kasimir Malevich was born near Kiev. His parents, Seweryn and Ludwika Malewicz, were ethnic Poles, and he was baptised in the Roman Catholic Church.

His father was the manager of a sugar factory. Kazimir was the first of fourteen children, although only nine of the children survived into adulthood.

He moved to Moscow in 1902 and in 1903 entered the School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. At first painted mainly Post-Impressionist landscapes. Began c.1909 to paint peasant subjects, developing by 1912 a tubular stylisation related to Cubism; then made paintings of still lifes and figures 1913-14 in a Cubo-Futurist style. In 1915 embarked on a completely abstract style to which he gave the name Suprematism based on pure geometrical elements in relationships suggesting floating, falling, ascending etc. In 1919 wrote a book On New Systems in Art. Moved to Vitebsk in 1919 at the invitation of Chagall to teach at the art school; organised his supporters into a group under the name Unovis ('affirmation of new art'). Began in 1919 to make architectural models as well as paintings, and had his first one-man exhibition in Moscow in late 1919 or early 1920. In 1922 moved to Leningrad and joined the staff of the Institute for Aesthetic Culture. Travelled to Warsaw and Berlin in 1927 with an exhibition of his works, and visited the Bauhaus at Dessau. In his last years, reverted to painting pictures of very stylised figures. Died in Leningrad.

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