Born Adolph Frederick Reinhardt on December 24, 1913 in Buffalo, NY, Ad Reinhardt was a prominent American painter best known for his shaping of the Conceptual and Minimalist art movements. Influenced by Stuart Davis’s Cubist-inspired paintings, Ad Reinhardt’s early work features canvases covered in colorful and asymmetrical geometric forms. Reinhardt’s collages are similarly complex, with layers of printed paper cut and pasted in irregular rectilinear forms.
His own influence on Minimalism is foreshadowed by his later monochromatic paintings, most famous of which are his seminal Black Paintings (1954–1967), which he considered an end-game evolution of Modernism and dubbed “the last paintings one can make.” Inspired by Kazimir Malevich’s landmark Black Square (1914), Reinhardt’s series contains extremely subtle tonal and chromatic shifts, lending a visual and conceptual complexity that can only be appreciated in person. A philosophically rigorous artist who strived for purity, he once observed, “As an artist I would like to eliminate the symbolic pretty much, for black is interesting not as a color but as a non-color and as the absence of color.”
Reinhardt studied art and art history at Columbia University, graduating in 1935. His estate has been represented by David Zwirner gallery in New York since his death, and his works are found in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Tate Gallery in London, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., among others. Reinhardt died on August 30, 1967 in New York, NY.