In 1962, Reinhardt asserted: “Abstract art has its own integrity.” Though he wrote these words more than two decades after he painted this untitled work, he was devoted to abstraction from his first days as an artist. His early work from the 1930s shows his interest in European geometric abstraction and a keen attention to color. Here he contrasts interlocking hard-edged forms with high chroma against a muted gray background. Reinhardt creates a pulsating energy in this work through his use of color by offsetting cooler colors, including blue, violet, and green, against hotter ones, like red, orange, and yellow. Such visual orchestration keeps the eye jumping over the surface of the canvas—an experience the artist would increasingly tone down in his later works.
Additional text from In The Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting online course, Coursera, 2017