Lot 1
  • 1

Nikolai Mikhailovich Suetin

25,000 - 35,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Nikolai Mikhailovich Suetin
  • Suprematist Surface Forms, Textile Design
  • signed in Cyrillic, inscribed Vitebsk and dated 21 l.l., inscribed risunok dlya tkan... l.r.
  • ink on paper
  • 23.5 by 32.5cm, 9 1/4 by 12 3/4 in.


Estate of the artist
Private collection, Leningrad
Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne
Acquired from the above in 1994


Cologne, Galerie Gmurzynska, Malevich. Suetin. Chashnik, 13 June - 31 July 1992, no.102


L.Shadowa, Suche und Experiment: Russische und sowjetische Kunst 1910 bis 1930, Dresden: VEB Verlag der Kunst, 1978, p.86 illustrated in the text; no.225 illustrated; p.367 listed
V.Rakitin, Suprematisti russi degli anni 20: Suetin, C̆as̆nik, Leporskaja, Milan: Fabbri, 1991, p.37 illustrated b/w
Exhibition catalogue Malevich. Suetin. Chashnik, Cologne: Galerie Gmurzynska, 1992, p.151, no.102 illustrated; p.301 listed
V.Rakitin, Nikolai Mikhailovich Suetin, Moscow: Palace Editions, 1998, p.34 illustrated, p.211 listed
Yu.Tulovskaya, Tekstil' Avangarda. Risunki dlya tkani, Ekaterinburg: Tatlin, 2016, p.29, no.18, illustrated

Catalogue Note

Suprematist Surface Forms dates from Nikolai Suetin’s time as a student of Kazimir Malevich at the art school in Vitebsk. Suetin and Ilya Chashnik were Malevich’s most dedicated followers from the Suprematist collective UNOVIS (Affirmers of the New Art) at Vitebsk and, with their teacher, were the movement’s leading exponents. Malevich established Suprematism as a closed, fully-formed system; there was no possibility for development and his followers did not deviate from its incredibly prescriptive boundaries. Suprematism was to recreate the effect on art that technology had had on nature, in part a reaction to the realism and the art of the Silver Age that preceded it but also a manifestation of man’s attempt to impose a system of order at a time of political, social and economic instability.

‘Under Suprematism I understand the supremacy of pure feeling in creative art’ explained Malevich in The Non-Objective World, part II in 1927. In their attempt to attain this purity, the Suprematists adhered to three tenets: the use of geometric forms as the only objects, the white background which represented infinite space and a cruciform composition based on the intersection of horizontal and vertical axes, all clearly illustrated in the present lot.

Students of the movement were required to follow its three-stage evolution of black, coloured and white towards the ‘zero degree’ of painting. This work belongs to the first stage where black forms are placed on a white background to express dynamism. The white field represents the infinite space and the identical groups of geometric forms interrupt it at regular intervals. The precise arrangement of elements in each group and the repetition of these units create an inherent rhythm and movement.

This work dates from 1921, a time when Malevich was particularly excited by the possibilities of applied Suprematism and Suetin produced designs for shop signs, women's clothing and textiles.