Untitled (Black Painting)
Oil on canvas. 127.5 x 51 cm. Framed. Signed and dated 'Ad REINHARDT 1954' and 'Ad Reinhardt 1954' verso on stretcher. - Professionally restored.
Ad Reinhardt is probably the most uncompromising of the New York School abstract artists. In a stringent development, he progressively simplifies his pictures formally and in terms of the colour contrasts. He consequently arrived at his ‘Black Paintings’ in the mid-1950s, monochrome works with a minimalist vocabulary of forms of overlapping vertical and horizontal bands of subtly and gradually varying shades of black. The artist pursued this work series of ‘Black Paintings’ until his death in 1967. “His art was a process of reduction, the logical dynamism of which led up to Nihilism and to that point in the mid-1950s when he could say: I paint the last pictures that anyone can actually paint. Reduced to a minimum, this simplicity was far more extreme and iconoclastic than the abstracts of Still, Neuman and Rothko, to which Reinhardt’s art can certainly be compared. He described his secretive black pictures also as the first pictures which could not be misunderstood.” (Nick Wadley, in: Ad Reinhardt, exhib.cat. Marlborough Fine Art, Art Cologne, Cologne 1998, p.4)
Private collection, North Rhine-Westphalia; Lempertz, Cologne, 2.12.2005, lot 451a; private collection, North Rhine-Westphalia
Bottrop 2010/2011 (Josef Albers Museum Quadrat Bottrop), Ad Reinhardt, Letzte Bilder, exhib.cat.no.57 with col. illus.
Leverkusen 1961 (Städtisches Museum, Schloss Morsbroich), Ad Reinhardt, Francesco Lo Savio, Jef Verheyen, exhib.cat.no.165 (label verso)