Revolutionary Art That Dominates Our Days


Kasimir Malevich, The Master of Russian Avant-Garde 1908-1925

In a series of articles on the art of the world that shines in auction rooms in New York, London, Paris and Hong Kong, we will discuss and examine the trends in world markets and where to look for better and bigger returns in a market that is gradually becoming a global investment arena without shedding yet the National boundaries to some degree.

We start with one painting that attracted our attention recently in New York.

Kasimir Malevich Black Cross on Red Background 1920-1922

I selected this painting not just because it represents the best 20th century artist from Russia, not because of the 37.77 million dollars it sold for, but for its messages to a world in trauma then and one in even bigger trauma today.

Malevich, like all Russian artists of the period suffered in the hands of the Bolsheviks. The date of the painting is bang in the middle of the early days of the Russian Revolution and the symbolism of the painting is what makes me stop, look and admire the man and his work, when all ran scared of the sword of the Red Army of 1920s.

It is the Russian Cross, it is Christianity on a modern canvas narrating the events of the day in the biggest Christian Orthodox country on the planet. Red all over. The Cross, the Russian Cross still in the forefront, clearly in deep mourning trouble but still intact and expecting the miracle to happen for all humanity.

It took seventy years for this art to appear for the wider world to admire and enjoy. The Russian economy is in a dip now and the price achieved for this painting was a little subdued, even though for a late 1920-22 painting it commanded a very respectable sum. Will the Russian market see the heights of 2000-2010? Nobody can exclude that from happening again but as things stand at the moment, the sharp investors with cash to spare should invest in pioneer work of pioneer artists of any nationality!

Peter Constant

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