Red and Blue Composition

  • Ad Reinhardt, Red and Blue Composition, 1941, oil on fiberboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Patricia and Phillip Frost, 1986.92.76

Luce Center Label

Ad Reinhardt rejected any associations between his work and the world around him, believing that the paintings should express only themselves and not attempt to imitate nature. Here, he used vibrant shades of red and blue against a dark background to create an image that jumps forward from the surface. The pure white shapes appear luminous, as if a bright light is shining through the canvas. We notice the red, white, and blue shapes immediately, but the black background also creates a geometric pattern in the spaces between the colors.

Luce Object Quote

“An emphasis on geometry is an emphasis on the ‘known,’ on order and knowledge.” Reinhardt, Studio 35 Discussion, April 1950, quoted in Lippard, Ad Reinhardt, 1981

Red and Blue Composition
On View
23 1/2 x 29 1/2 in. (59.7 x 74.9 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Patricia and Phillip Frost

Mediums Description
oil on fiberboard
  • Abstract
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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