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Ad Reinhardt

Abstract Painting, Blue

1952

With his monochromatic canvases of the 1950s and 60s, Ad Reinhardt desired to make “pure” paintings evincing an “art for art’s sake” position rather than working to communicate emotion or the physical act of painting itself. Abstract Painting, Blue exemplifies the severe style and symmetry he was able to achieve through the drastic reduction of form in favor of color. Part of a series executed between 1952 and 1953, the vertical canvas is overlaid with a three-by-three grid of rectangles rendered in blue paint. The subtle tonal variations of each square are so difficult to differentiate that the painting only reveals its composition after prolonged and focused observation.

Ad Reinhardt (b. 1913, Buffalo, New York; d. 1967, New York)
Abstract Painting, Blue, 1952
Oil on canvas
30 x 25 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Gift of Beacon Bay Enterprises

The Twelve Technical Rules (or How to Achieve the Twelve Things to Avoid) to be followed are: 1. No texture.... 2. No brushwork or calligraphy.... 3. No sketching or drawing.... 4. No forms.... 5. No design.... 6. No colors.... 7. No light.... 8. No space.... 9. No time.... 10. No size or scale.... 11. No movement.... 12. No object, no subject, no matter. No symbols, images, or signs. —Ad Reinhardt

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