Ad Reinhardt

Abstract Painting No. 5


Not on display

Ad Reinhardt 1913–1967
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 1524 × 1524 mm
frame: 1576 × 1577 × 66 mm
Presented by Mrs Rita Reinhardt through the American Federation of Arts 1972

Display caption

Ad Reinhardt's work became increasingly reductive and symmetrical in the 1950's and from 1955 until his death he worked almost exclusively in near-black. In fact the blue-black surface of 'Abstract Painting No. 5' has an underlying grid of different coloured squares divided by a green central horizontal band. Seen from top left, the squares are: red, blue, red, red, blue, red. Each of these colours was mixed with black oil paint to give a matt surface quality.

Gallery label, August 2004

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.

Catalogue entry

Ad Reinhardt 1913-1967

T01582 Abstract Painting No.5 1962

Inscribed '"ABSTRACT PAINTING, | No.5, 1962" | 60 x 60 OIL on canvas | Reinhardt | 732 Broadway | NYC 3' on cardboard backing
Oil on canvas, 60 x 60 (152.5 x 152.5)
Presented by Mrs Rita Reinhardt through the American Federation of Arts 1972
Exh: Ad Reinhardt, Städtische Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf, September-October 1972 (65); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, December 1972-January 1973 (59); Kunsthaus, Zurich, February-March 1973 (65); Grand Palais, Paris, May-July 1973 (60); Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Vienna, July-August 1973 (65)

There are two diagrams by Ad Reinhardt on the cardboard backing, showing the colouristic structure of this more or less all-over blue-black painting:

[square grid of three equal horizontal bands; top and bottom bands each divided into three sqaures, lettered 'R' 'B' 'R'; middle band lettered 'G' in centre]
R is an abbreviation for red, B for blue and G for green. Lucy R. Lippard writes (letter of 6 January 1975) that Reinhardt designated the components in case he had to restore the canvas (which was necessary all too often). 'The red, blue, green were mixed with mat black, not underpainted; the oil paint had all the oil taken out of it, leaving the surface very mat, but also very fragile.'

The significance, if any, of the No.5 in the title is unclear. Reinhardt painted black pictures like this on square canvases 5 x 5ft (152.5 x 152.5cm) from 1960 onwards.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.623-4, reproduced p.623


You might like