/seuh prem"euh tiz'euhm, soo-/, n. (sometimes cap.) Fine Arts.a nonrepresentational style of art developed in Russia in the early 20th century, characterized by severely simple geometric shapes or forms and an extremely limited palette.[ < Russ suprematízm (1913) < F suprémat(ie) SUPREMACY + Russ -izm -ISM]
* * *First movement of pure geometrical abstraction in art, introduced in Russia с 1913.Originated by Kazimir Malevich and disseminated by El Lissitzky and the Bauhaus school, it had far-reaching influence on Western art and design. Malevich aimed to convey the "supremacy of feeling in art," which he believed could be expressed through the simplest of visual forms. He exhibited the first Suprematist compositions in 1915, the year he issued the Suprematist manifesto. The purest embodiment of Suprematist ideals can be seen in his White on White series (1917–18).
* * *▪ paintingfirst movement of pure geometrical abstraction in painting, originated by Kazimir S. Malevich (Malevich, Kazimir) in Russia in about 1913. In his first Suprematist work, a pencil drawing of a black square on a white field, all the elements of objective representation that had characterized his earlier, Cubist-Futurist style, had been eliminated. Malevich explained that “the appropriate means of representation is always the one which gives fullest possible expression to feeling as such and which ignores the familiar appearance of objects.” Referring to his first Suprematist work, he identified the black square with feeling and the white background with expressing “the void beyond this feeling.”Although his early Suprematist compositions most likely date from 1913, they were not exhibited until 1915, the year he edited the Suprematist manifesto, with the assistance of several writers, most notably the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky (Mayakovsky, Vladimir Vladimirovich). In these first Suprematist works—consisting of simple geometrical forms such as squares, circles, and crosses—he limited his palette to black, white, red, green, and blue. By 1916–17 he was presenting more complex shapes (fragments of circles, tiny triangles); extending his colour range to include brown, pink, and mauve; increasing the complexity of spatial relationships; and introducing the illusion of the three-dimensional into his painting. His experiments culminated in the “White on White” paintings of 1917–18, in which colour was eliminated, and the faintly outlined square barely emerged from its background. Finally, at a one-man exhibition of his work in 1919, Malevich announced the end of the Suprematist movement.Suprematism had a few adherents among lesser known artists, such as Ivan Kliun, Ivan Puni, and Olga Rosanova. While not affiliated with the movement, the distinguished Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky (Kandinsky, Wassily) showed the influence of Suprematism in the geometrization of his forms after 1920. This geometrical style, together with other abstract trends in Russian art, was transmitted by way of Kandinsky and the Russian artist El Lissitzky to Germany, particularly to the Bauhaus (q.v.), in the early 1920s.
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