Lot 142
  • 142


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circular, the cavetto painted with a suprematist composition in black and orange in a rectangular black frame, with factory mark in black overglaze, signed by the artist 'no riz Malevicha', and dated 1923, design number 660 serial no. 10, with the Imperial cipher for Nicholas II, 1898

Catalogue Note


Christie's South Kensington, 'Russian Art and Icons', 17 December 1999, lot 275


For a similar example see: Nina Lobanov-Rostovsky: Revolutionary Ceramics, Soviet Porcelain 1917-1927, John Calmann and King Ltd, London, 1990, p134, illustration no. 164
For a similar example see: x.cat: Circling the Square, Avant-Garde Porcelain from Revolutionary Russia, Exhibition in conjunction with the State Hermitage Museum and the Courtauld Institute of Art, Fontanka, London, 2004, p110, cat. no. 75
K. Malevich, Suprematism, 34 Drawings, Vitebsk, 1920
L. Andreeva, Soviet Porcelain, Moscow, 1975, p124, with a similar plate illustrated
D. Karshan, Malevich, the graphic work - 1913-1930 a print catalogue raisonné, Jerusalem, 1975, p154
C. Gray, The Russian Experiment in Art 1863-1922, London, 1986, pl 130


Kazimir Malevich, born in Ukraine in 1878, was the founder of one of the most important and radical contemporary art movements in Europe – Suprematism.

Suprematism takes it name from Latin ‘supremus’, meaning ‘highest’; the core ideal of the movement was to harness bold, pure creativity. This artistic concept was at its height between 1915 and 1922, and was launched by Malevich’s Black Square in 1915. The artist boldly painted the canvas with a plain black square and hung it in the corner of a room, traditionally a space reserved for icons.

Malevich's Black Square became an emblem for the Suprematists, which included Nikolai Suetin and Ilya Chasnik. They wore badges with a black square on their sleeves and painted a black square on the base of their porcelain works, as found on the base of this plate.

In 1922 Malevich and Suetin moved to Petrograd and started work for the State Porcelain Manufactory the following year. Their stark designs would provide a contrast to the red agitational porcelain with its political slogans. The pure, white porcelain provided a perfect 'canvas' for the abstract graphics and geometric figures of Suprematist work. Malevich describes the importance of the colours used in his pieces: “The most important things in Suprematism – its two foundations – are the energy of black and white which serve to open up the form of action,” and further: “red as the signal of revolution and white as pure action…symbol of purity of human creative life.” (x.cat: Circling the Square, 2004, p33)

The design is based on the lithograph entitled Aeroplane Flying, in “Suprematism: 34 Drawings”. The oil painting of Aeroplane Flying (1915) is found in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Malevich simplified the design for the plate to create an almost perfect balance between the black and red colours on the piece.

A similar plate, included in the Hermitage Rooms in Somerset House, Circling the Square, Avant-Garde Porcelain from Revolutionary Russia, has the serial number 600/4. The number painted on the base of this plate is 600/10.