Non-objective art defines a type of abstract art that is usually, but not always, geometric and aims to convey a sense of simplicity and purity

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  • Wassily Kandinsky, 'Swinging' 1925
    Wassily Kandinsky
    Swinging 1925
    Oil on board
    support: 705 x 502 mm
    frame: 954 x 750 x 80 mm
    Purchased 1979© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2002
  • Naum Gabo, 'Construction in Space: Diagonal' 1921-5, reassembled 1986
    Naum Gabo
    Construction in Space: Diagonal 1921-5, reassembled 1986
    Glass, metal and celluloid
    object: 610 x 163 x 160 mm
    Accepted by HM Government in lieu of tax and allocated to the Tate Gallery 1995The Work of Naum Gabo © Nina & Graham Williams/Tate, London 2011
  • Kasimir Malevich, 'Dynamic Suprematism' 1915 or 1916
    Kazimir Malevich
    Dynamic Suprematism 1915 or 1916
    Oil on canvas
    support: 803 x 800 mm frame: 1015 x 1015 x 80 mm
    Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1978

The Russian constructivist painters Wassily Kandinsky and Kasimir Malevich and the sculptor Naum Gabo were pioneers of non-objective art. It and was inspired by the Greek philosopher Plato who believed that geometry was the highest form of beauty.

Non-objective art may attempt to visualise the spiritual and can be seen as carrying a moral dimension, standing for virtues like purity and simplicity. In the 1960s a group of American artists, including Sol LeWitt and Donald Judd, embraced the philosophy of non-objective art. By creating highly simplified geometric art out of industrial materials they elevated these to an aesthetic level. Their work became known as minimal art.