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Peasant Scene

Before developing his signature abstract style known as Suprematism, Kazimir Malevich participated in the neo-primitivist movement that swept the Russian avant-garde prior to World War I. Urban artists, enthralled by the Russian peasantry’s disappearing way of life and searching for ways to mark their art with the stamp of their Russian identity, turned to peasant culture and folk art for inspiration. Malevich, who grew up around rural, Ukrainian sugar-beet plantations, felt a particular affinity with such imagery. This regional impetus was combined with Cubism after Malevich was introduced to the new style by Mikhail Larionov, who invited him into the modernist exhibition group Bubnovy Valet (Jack of Diamonds). In this transitional, Cubo-Futurist drawing, Malevich simplified the peasants’ bodies into cylindrical and pyramidal shapes and rendered the ground and buildings as a collection of geometric planes.

Kazimir Malevich
Russian, 1878–1935
Peasant Scene
1912–13
Graphite on paper
Image/sheet (irregular): 3 ½ x 3 ½ in. (8.9 x 8.9 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Jane and Roger Wolcott Memorial, Gift of Thomas T. Solley, 79.49