Painting, 1950

Photo: Spike Mafford / Zocalo Studios. Courtesy of the Friday Foundation

Painting, 1950

1950

Ad Reinhardt

American, 1913 - 1967

An influential teacher and writer who was rigorously committed to pure abstraction, Reinhardt quipped in 1946, “Looking isn’t as simple as it looks. Art teaches people how to see.” His goal to slow down the viewer eventually led him to make paintings with minute tonal differentiations of a single color that demand prolonged and close meditation. To activate the entirety of the visual field of the canvas, Reinhardt experimented with different styles in the 1940s and moved towards a more limited range of color and geometric forms. Painting, 1950 marks a decisive moment. The broad brushwork is still distinctive, and an overall geometric structure is articulated, from which hues of orange and brown shine through like an illumination. First exhibited in 1951 at Betty Parsons Gallery, where he installed the painting “upside down,” he later redesignated the orientation.
Oil on canvas
60 x 36 in. (152.5 x 91.5 cm)
Gift of the Friday Foundation in honor of Richard E. Lang and Jane Lang Davis
2020.14.14
Provenance: The artist; Estate of the artist; [Marlborough Gallery, New York]; purchased from gallery by Jane and Richard E. Lang, Seattle, Washington, 1974; Friday Foundation, Seattle, Washington, 2018; to Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, 2020
Photo: Spike Mafford / Zocalo Studios. Courtesy of the Friday Foundation
location
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum

Resources

Exhibition HistoryNew York, New York, Betty Parsons Gallery, Ad Reinhardt: Recent Oil Paintings, June 4 - June 23, 1951.

New York, New York, Betty Parsons Gallery, Ad Reinhardt: Twenty-Five Years of Abstract Painting, New York, 1960. Reproduced (as Painting).

New York, New York, Marlborough Gallery, Ad Reinhardt, Mar. 2 - 23, 1974. Cat. no. 44.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, The Richard and Jane Lang Collection, Feb. 2 - Apr. 1, 1984. Cat. no. 37, pp. 52-53, reproduced.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Frisson: The Richard E. Lang and Jane Lang Davis Collection, Oct. 15, 2021 - Nov. 27, 2022. Text by Norman L. Kleeblatt. No cat. no., pp. 41, 74-81, 192, reproduced pp. 16 (fig. 5), 75 (pl. 4), 183.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Reverberations: Contemporary Art and Modern Classics, Dec. 22, 2022 - ongoing [on view beginning June 14, 2023].

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

Learn more about Equity at SAM

Supported by Microsoft logo