…well-documented exhibition history make
Head of a Peasant the most exciting work on paper by Kazimir Malevich to appear at auction in recent memory. It is part of a series of primitivist gouaches the artist executed between 1911 and 1912 on the theme of peasant life, and is considered to be a study for his large oil painting Peasant Funeral (1911, fig.1), which was last exhibited in Berlin in 1927 and has since been lost. The majority of the surviving gouaches from this series, such as the Floor Polishers (fig.5), are now in museum collections, notably the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
‘I came to understand the peasants through icons, saw their faces not as saints, but as ordinary people’, Malevich later wrote in his autobiography.