Black Square and Red Square (1915) by Kasimir Malevich

Black Square and Red Square - Kasimir Malevich - 1915

Artwork Information

TitleBlack Square and Red Square
ArtistKasimir Malevich
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions28 x 17 1/2 in. (71.4 x 44.4 cm.)
Current LocationThe Museum of Modern Art, New York

About Black Square and Red Square

Kasimir Malevich’s Black Square and Red Square is a Suprematist masterpiece that was first exhibited at The Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings 0,10 in Petrograd in 1915. The painting depicts a black square against a white background with a smaller red square within it. Malevich’s intention was to create something more than just an image; he wanted to express the idea of pure abstraction where shapes were not relegated to representational purposes but as objects in themselves.

Black Square has four known versions, with the last one believed to have been painted in the late 1920s or early 1930s. Over time, Black Square has deteriorated due to the black paint cracking and revealing the white ground underneath.

Malevich drew inspiration from Albrecht Durer’s Self-Portrait for his artwork by painting himself in red and black against a neutral background. Despite being composed of simple geometric forms on a white backdrop, Black Square represents “new realism” declared by Malevich through Suprematism.

Black Square and Red Square remains one of Kasimir Malevich’s most widely recognized paintings worldwide today since it marks an important phase in art history where non-representational forms became significant as they depicted abstract ideas symbolically rather than real-life situations or entities alone.

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