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The Art Institute of Chicago Celebrates Historic Acquisition

Saturday 29th January 2011

Kazimir Malevich, Painterly Realism of a Football Player--Color Masses in the 4th Dimension (1915). Oil on canvas. ß27-5/8 x 17-5/16 in. (70.2 x 44.1 cm). Through prior gift of Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection, Art Institute of Chicago Acquisition Funds, 2011.1.
 
 
The Art Institute of Chicago has something to celebrate, as they announce the acquisition of one of the most significant pieces of art to join their incredible collection. Kazimir Malevich's iconic painting, entitled Painterly Realism of a Football Player - Colour Masses in the 4th Dimension, of 1915 will join the collection in Chicago as the first acquisition of 2011, thanks to the Art Institute's Acquisition Fund.
 
By appearing in Chicago, the painting, which is of great significance and importance in the art historical canon, will sit amongst many other great works of art, including Georges Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, 1884; Edward Hopper's Nighthawks, 1942; Grant Wood's American Gothic, 1930 and Henri Matisse's Bathers by A River.
 
While the museum has a notoriously strong collection, they are still a few gaps that have yet to be filled. Bringing in Malevich's work helps them to fill one of those gaps, with the work being the first of Russian Suprematism to grace the galleries of the Art Institute. Interestingly, with this acquisition, the museum becomes only the second public institution in the whole of the United States to feature a Suprematist painting by Malevich in their collection. 
 
Russian Suprematism was an art movement which formed in 1915, and was fully focused on the representational value of the fundamental geometric shapes. Malevich was the founding member of Suprematism, having already worked his way through the artistic modes of futurism and cubism. As a form of abstraction, Suprematism was radically reductive - portraying recognisable and everyday subjects in a non-objective manner. Malevich reached complete abstraction, and the purest form of painting with Black Square of 1913; the ultimate reduction of painting and the most basic element of artistic creation. In Suprematism, once the state of the Black Square was reached, the artist was free to step through to a new form of art; a return to the start of creation. 
 
Kazimir Malevich, Black Square, 1913. Russian State Museum, St Petersburg
 
Painterly Realism of a Football Player takes the Suprematist values of geometric reduction, and the analysis of the relationship of shapes and form in the modern world, and represents them in a purely abstract manner. The work itself avoids all political, social and natural relationships with the world and tunes into the more primitive values of a world broken up into squares, circles, rectangles and triangles. 
 
The work came to the museum through renowned art dealer Larry Gagosian, who acted on behalf of the Malevich's heirs who had put the work on offer. It is great that this work will go on show to an international audience as it takes its place in the Art Institute of Chicago, to sit as a deserved superstar of the art world, amongst its international contemporaries. 

Posted on January 29th 2011 on 03:20pm
Labels: painting

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