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Abstract Painting no. 4

1961 Ad Reinhardt Born: Buffalo, New York 1913 Died: New York, New York 1967 oil on linen 60 1/8 x 60 1/4 in. (152.6 x 152.9 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. 1969.47.71 Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

Ad Reinhardt’s comments about art are markers of an aesthetic and intellectual journey from early cubist-inspired compositions to the black rectangles he made for the last seven years of his life. He came to believe that painting is a nonnarrative medium and over the course of two decades purged imagery and even traces of his own hand from his work. The matte black surface of Abstract Painting no. 4 is not read quickly, but close examination reveals subtle blue and plum squares arranged in a cruciform shape. Asked to explain his use of black, Reinhardt replied, “It’s because of its non-color. . . . Color has to do with life.”

Modern Masters: Midcentury Abstraction from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2008




paint - oil

fabric - linen