Ad Reinhardt. Number 22. 1949

Ad Reinhardt Number 22 1949

  • The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 5, Collection Galleries

Reinhardt studied both Eastern and Western art history at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He deepened his understanding of Buddhism and other Eastern philosophies by attending the lectures of Zen teacher Daisetz Suzuki at Columbia University. Number 22 shows Reinhardt fusing Eastern and Western traditions by using calligraphic brushwork inspired by Chinese and Japanese calligraphy in a gridded composition influenced by those of de Stijl co-founder Piet Mondrian. In classical East Asian painting, the fragility of paper wet with ink limits the artist’s ability to rework the composition. The sturdier canvas support and slower drying oil paints used throughout much of the history of Western painting allow artists to highlight various revision and layering techniques. Although he worked in oil on canvas, Reinhardt chose to restrain himself and not rework his painting’s surface, in keeping with Asian calligraphic traditions. The result is a far more controlled manner of gestural painting than those of the Abstract Expressionists.

Additional text from In The Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting online course, Coursera, 2017
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
50 x 20" (127 x 50.6 cm)
Credit
Given anonymously
Object number
1102.1969
Copyright
© 2019 Estate of Ad Reinhardt / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Department
Painting and Sculpture

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