• Ad Reinhardt, Untitled, 1940, oil on fiberboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Patricia and Phillip Frost, 1986.92.75

Exhibition Label

Untitled is a jazzy kaleidoscope of colored rectangles that resembles a collage whose elements are painted rather than pasted. Reds and pinks placed beside yellows and greens produce optical effects that deny the flatness of the canvas, and small patches of brushy paint are reminders that the hand of an artist is at work. The lively colors and syncopated rhythms owe a debt to Reinhardt’s close friend and mentor Stuart Davis.

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

Luce Center Label

In the 1940s, Ad Reinhardt experimented with collage, cutting up newspapers, magazines, and books to create images that were “spontaneous and accidental” (“Reinhardt,” Arts and Architecture, 1947). Many of his paintings from that time show the same layered quality as his collages, and in Untitled the hard, jagged edges evoke cut and ripped pieces of paper. These thin, colored rectangles resemble confetti, scattered over the image as if flickering and swirling through the air.

Luce Object Quote

“[The painting] says what it says and one doesn’t have to say anything about it. And I never say anything about my paintings, I never explain or interpret them.” The artist, quoted in Lippard, Ad Reinhardt, 1981

Not on view
46 x 24 in. (116.8 x 61.0 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Patricia and Phillip Frost

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