Ad Reinhardt - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Thursday, March 9, 2017 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Malborough-Gerson Gallery, New York
    Private Collection, Los Angeles
    Ronald Greenberg Gallery, St. Louis
    Dr. and Mrs. Harold J. Joseph
    Christie’s, New York, 5 May 1982, lot 18
    Private Collection, New York

  • Literature

    John Yau, A Life with Artists: Hannelore and Rudolph Schulhof, New York, 2016, p. 170 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    At first a seemingly black monochrome canvas, Reinhardt’s Abstract Painting from 1955 is a stunning exploration of the subtle interplays of colour and light. Upon close inspection, the viewer notices slight tonal variations within the linear grid of the painting, a result of Reinhardt’s ability to design different matte black pigments by mixing in warm and cool reds, greens and blues. Such subtleties are also realised in the reflection of light against the canvas, inviting different interpretations of the work from various vantage points. As Reinhardt once summarized of the different blacks in his monochrome abstracts, ‘There is a black which is old and a black which is fresh. Lustrous black and dull black, black in sunlight and black in shadow.’ (Ad Reinhardt quoted in “Black as Symbol and Concept”, Barbara Rose, Art-as-Art: The Selected Writings of Ad Reinhardt, New York, 1953, p. 86)

    Each of these unique blacks is present in Abstract Painting. The present lot belongs to Reinhardt’s celebrated series of black paintings, of which he also referred to as his ‘ultimate paintings’. In intimate scale, Abstract Painting offers a unique look into this series which culminated his practice. Painted just over 10 years before the artist’s sudden death, this work, which has been in a prestigious New York collection for over three decades, is a paradigm for the artist’s modern experimentations in abstract painting.



Abstract Painting

signed, titled and dated 'Ad Reinhardt "ABSTRACT Painting, 1955"' on the reverse of the backing board
oil on canvas
50.8 x 25.4 cm (20 x 10 in.)
Painted in 1955.

£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £209,000

Contact Specialist
Tamila Kerimova
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4065

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 10 March 2017