Abstract Painting
Date 1962
Medium Oil on canvas with frame painted by the artist
Dimensions 76.5 x 76.5 cm
Inventory ID UID 102-480
Around 1953, renouncing the principles of asymmetry and irregularity in painting, Ad Reinhardt began work on a series of so-called black paintings. Devoting himself to them until the end of his life, they would turn out to be his best-known works, those which cemented his reputation. These are canvases which, at first glance, simply seem to be painted black but which are actually composed of subtle, almost imperceptible, nuances of shade upon shade. Later, and until his death, he would produce the Ultimate Paintings, all of which were of the same size (152.4 x 152.4 cm) and of very similar values. So difficult is it to perceive the nuances in these works that a theme can scarcely be made out. According to the painter, they are ‘the ultimate paintings that can be painted’, pieces that continually border on the maximum limit beyond which the work ceases to exist, embodying an extremely radical geometric abstraction. AC
Betty Parsons Gallery, New York; Noah Goldowski Inc. Fine Art, New York; William A. M. Burde and Co (1972); acquired at Sotheby's, New York, 10 November 1993.