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  • Executed circa 1947, Ad Reinhardt’s Untitled is a quintessential example of the gestural abstract work the artist created prior to dedicating himself exclusively to his reductivist monochrome abstractions. It perfectly captures how Reinhardt, who had studied Eastern art and philosophy at the Institute of Fine Arts after his art history degree at Columbia University in New York City, powerfully drew inspiration from both Western and Eastern art traditions in the 1940s to create works such as Number 22 and Number 43, both in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

     

    If Reinhardt's artistic output in the late 1930s had been characterized by what he called his “late classical mannerist, post cubist, geometric abstractions,” by the time he created Untitled he had arrived at a looser, more gestural idiom. His all-over compositions connected to the then-burgeoning movement of Abstract Expressionism, but also clearly capture his affinity with Eastern calligraphic traditions. In keeping with Chinese and Japanese calligraphy which limited the times that the artist could rework the paper surface, Reinhardt put his brush to the paper with a remarkable decisiveness—resulting in works such as Untitled that pulsate with an palpable sense of immediacy. Reinhardt would create this discrete body of work only for a few years before exclusively dedicating himself to simplifying and purifying his paintings until his death in 1967.

     

    Ad Reinhardt, Untitled, circa 1947. The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 50th Anniversary Gift of Rita Reinhardt. Artwork © 2020 Estate of Ad Reinhardt / Artists Rights Society (ARS)
    Ad Reinhardt, Untitled, circa 1947. The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 50th Anniversary Gift of Rita Reinhardt. Artwork © 2020 Estate of Ad Reinhardt / Artists Rights Society (ARS)
    • Provenance

      The Pace Gallery, New York
      Tilton Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in November 2011

137

Untitled

gouache on paperboard
16 x 19 7/8 in. (40.7 x 50.6 cm)
Painted circa 1947.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
$70,000 - 100,000 

Sold for $157,500

Contact Specialist

John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261

[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 24 June 2021