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Collection > Ad Reinhardt >

Abstract Painting, Blue


  • Medium

    Oil on canvas

  • Dimensions

    Frame (black wood): 32 x 27 x 1 3/8 in. (81.28 x 68.58 x 3.43 cm)
    29 3/4 x 24 3/4 in. (75.57 x 62.87 cm)

  • Credit

    The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
    Gift of Beacon Bay Enterprises

  • Accession number


  • Object label

    Ad Reinhardt believed that painting should be only about painting. In his work he banished all figuration, illusionism, and reference to the world outside of the canvas, in favor of total abstraction. The monochromatic dark blue of Abstract Painting, Blue, with its barely perceptible differences in color tone, relates solely to the flat surface, the rectangular shape of the canvas support, and the properties of pigment. Reinhardt’s rationale for such “pure painting” was that, being entirely independent of every other aspect of life, it would be incorruptible. Such aesthetic integrity would, he hoped, gird art against the threat of being used to deliver political messages, whether of the right or the left. Reinhardt made abstract paintings that would be ends unto themselves, because he did not want art to be exploited as a means for some other political or ideological purpose.