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The most expensive paintings of Kazimir Malevich

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Kazimir Malevich's paintings of museum value rarely appear at auctions, and over the years, the cost of the works continues to grow: in the top ten most expensive works by Russian artists, the works by Kazimir Malevich steadily occupy the second place, slightly behind Mark Rothko, followed by Wassily Kandinsky by a wide margin. How much does Suprematism cost today? Discover the five most expensive paintings by the famous Russian avant-garde
Avant-garde is how modern art critics refer the general trend of new artistic directions that arose in world art at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. A very thin line separates it from the concept of “modernism”. Read more
artist, as well as the stories associated with them.
At the end of the twentieth century, works by Kazimir Malevich appeared at auctions relatively rarely. The first fruit of Suprematism was the painting that Malevich’s relatives received as compensation from the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1999. A year later, Malevich’s 1919—1920 Suprematist Composition was auctioned for $ 17 million. The rest of the "pure provenance" stars began to appear at auctions in 2008, when the heirs of the artist, after long litigation, seized five paintings by Malevich from the Stedelek Museum in Amsterdam. You are about to find out the prices, but you can only guess how much the remaining 24 paintings and 40 graphic works cost.

According to the calculations of art dealers, the number of Malevich’s heirs is about 37 people, and they live in 10 different countries. The German art detective Clemens Toussaint in 1993 was able to unite them and demand compensation from a number of museums, since the paintings left by Malevich in Berlin after the 1927 exhibition (and there were about a hundred of them) belonged to the artist himself, and, therefore, after his death in 1935 they became part of the Malevich family inheritance.

1. Suprematist Composition (Blue Rectangle over the Red Beam), 1916

Auctioned: Christie’s, 15 May 2018
Price: $85.8 mln

Provenance: presumably the private collection of David Nahmad (Syria)
The most expensive painting by Kazimir Malevich was sold at Christie’s in New York on 15 May 2018 for $ 85.8 million, setting a new world record for an artist for a re-sold work. Both leading auction houses benefited from this picture: the previous record 60 million were paid for it in 2008, when the Suprematist Composition (Blue Rectangle over the Red Beam) was sold at Sotheby’s New York auction. And although the seller wished to remain anonymous, there is every reason to believe that the painting was put up for auction by the world champion in backgammon, the Syrian David Nahmad, who acquired the Suprematist Composition in 2008 from Malevich’s heirs. But the generous person who gave almost 86 million remains unknown.
Photo Source: christies.com
Buyers often pay not only for the work, but also for the story associated with it. And the fate of the Suprematist Composition created by Malevich in 1916 is just a real detective story. Together with hundreds of other works, it remained in the care of the German architect Hugo Hering, when Malevich, after his success at the Great Berlin Art Exhibition in 1927, was urgently called to Moscow.

You can read the history of this legendary painting by Kazimir Malevich and the collection of his paintings left in Berlin after the exhibition here.

2. Mystic Suprematism (Black Cross on Red Oval) 1922

Auctioned: Sotheby’s, 5 November 2015
Price: $37.7 mln

Provenance: relatives and heirs of Kazimir Malevich
The Mystical Suprematism (Black Cross on Red Oval) painting, created by Kazimir Malevich in the period from 1920 to 1922, holds second place on the list. It is also included in the list of five works that the Stedelek Museum, Amsterdam returned to the artist’s heirs in 2008. The Black Cross on Red Oval was sold at Sotheby’s on 5 November 2015. Despite the completely transparent provenance and the announced estimate of 35 to 45 million, the picture only slightly exceeded its lower threshold and was sold for 37.7 million dollars.

3. Suprematism, 18th Construction, 1915

Auctioned: Sotheby’s, 24 June 2015
Price: $33.8 mln

Provenance: relatives and heirs of Kazimir Malevich
The Suprematism, 18th Construction artwork belongs to the same list of paintings, which were transferred to the heirs. Malevich finished this work in 1915, that year marked the beginning of the Suprematist period both in his work and in the art history. At the Sotheby’s auction in London, held on the evening of 24 June 2015, the new owner paid $ 33.8 million for the 18th Construction. This exceeded the lower limit of the estimate by 2.2 million, and the upper limit set by the appraisers was 47.3 million.
Two of the five works inherited by the Malevich family from the Dutch were sold privately; one of the paintings was acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago, namely the Suprematism: Painterly Realism
Realism (from late Latin reālis — “real”) is considered to be the beginning in the development of modern art. In a strict sense, “realism” is an art movement that faithfully and objectively reproduces reality in all its details, regardless of how beautiful are the objects in the picture. Read more
of a Football-Player, Color Masses of the Fourth Dimension (1915). The purchase amount of this Malevich’s work is unknown. The last painting, Bureau and Room (1913) was exhibited at the Tate Modern Gallery in the autumn of 2014, and the catalogue said it was "provided anonymously".
Kazimir Malevich. Bureau and room
Bureau and room
1913, 79.5×79.5 cm
In February of the same 2015, the most expensive graphic work by Kazimir Malevich, the Self-Portrait, one of three self-portraits created by the artist from 1908 to 1911, was sold at the Sotheby’s auction in London.
Kazimir Malevich. Self-portrait
Self-portrait
1910, 25.1×25.1 cm
Originally included in the collection of George Costakis, the Self-Portrait was sold by a collector in 1962, and later it appeared at Christie’s auction in 2004. Over the 11 years that have passed since that sale, its value has increased 35 times. Taking into account the huge number of Malevich fakes that flooded the market in the early 2000s, pure provenance is the key to success and record prices for this artist.

4. Suprematist Composition With Plane In Projection, 1915

Auctioned: Sotheby’s, 16 May 2017
Price: $21.2 mln

Provenance: Nikolai Khardzhiev collection

The Suprematist Composition With Plane In Projection (1915) is a record lot of Sotheby’s "Impressionism and Modernism" auction, which took place in New York on 16 May 2017. Then the canvas was sold for $ 21.2 million, exceeding the estimate ($ 12 to 18 million).

5. Suprematist Composition, 1920

Auctioned: Phillips, 11 May 2000
Price: $17 mln

Provenance: relatives and heirs of Kazimir Malevich
Kazimir Malevich. Suprematist Composition 1919—1920. Canvas, oil. 80.5×80.5.
The last one of the five most expensive paintings by the genius of Suprematism is another Suprematist Composition, which was sold in May 2000 at the Phillips auction in New York. With an estimate of $ 10 million for the painting, they managed to bail out 17 million. The painting was sold by all the same heirs of Kazimir Severinovich, who, with the participation of Clemens Toussaint, seized this painting from MOMA (according to other sources — 6 paintings) along with $ 5 million compensation a year earlier.
Kazimir Malevich. The Landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why was the Hudson River so important? Read more
. 1911
One last point: on 21 June 2018, another painting from the "Berlin heritage" was sold at Christie’s. The Post-Impressionist Landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why was the Hudson River so important? Read more
, created by Malevich in 1911 under the influence of the works by Paul Cézanne, was bought by the Basel Art Museum and returned to its rightful owners only 50 years later. For the Landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why was the Hudson River so important? Read more
they "only" managed to bail out 10.4 million dollars. Well, all the "compensation" canvases for the collection of paintings left by the artist with Hans Hering seem to be already sold out. Obviously, we will not see Kazimir Malevich’s significant works "fresh" for the auction soon.

Based on materials of artinvestment.ru, artguide.com and Arthive’s own publications.


Thematic week in Arthive with materials about the artist and his work: #Kazimir Malevich