Red and Blue Composition

Media - 1986.92.76 - SAAM-1986.92.76_1 - 10260
Copied Ad Reinhardt, Red and Blue Composition, 1941, oil on fiberboard, 23 1229 12 in. (59.774.9 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Patricia and Phillip Frost, 1986.92.76

Artwork Details

Red and Blue Composition
23 1229 12 in. (59.774.9 cm.)
Credit Line
Gift of Patricia and Phillip Frost
Mediums Description
oil on fiberboard
  • Abstract
Object Number

Artwork Description

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