Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I finally got to see one.

I finally got to see this wonderful Adolf Reinhardt painting. 5ft square. Black. But not truly black. It is a slow painting that unfolds with the more time you put into viewing it. Sometimes I began to wonder if I were seeing things just from looking at all the black for so long. But it did begin to work it's magic on me and I began to see the red, the violet within the painting. The strange thing is that, of the reproductions I have seen of these paintings. You usually can see what looks like a cross pattern within the painting, with the cross being painted with a glossy sheen and the rest a very matte paint. But this one in particular did not have any of the sheen whatsoever. Which kinda threw me a bit, as I always thought that each one had that cross pattern within it. For as much as I looked at it, I could see no pattern within the painting at all. There are slight views that let you think there is an almost checkerboard pattern within it, but I don't know what I think as to that matter. All I know, is that I FINALLY got to see one. After all these years...more than a decade, I finally got to see one of the Reinhardt square black paintings. After viewing the rest of the ab-ex show at Moma, I now feel even more minuscule as a painter. These were painters that really hit you over the head with their work. Which makes me wanna work on my paintings even more to find what they found. That power, that intensity, that scale. Seeing Barnett Newman's painting Vir Heroicus Sublimis really made me realize what scale is truly all about. It stands before you, defiant of your thoughts and pushes right back at you. I still can't get these images out of my head.

1963. Oil on canvas, 60 x 60" (152.4 x 152.4 cm). Gift of Mrs. Morton J. Hornick. © 2010 Estate of Ad Reinhardt / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

If you get the chance while this show is up. I highly recommend that you drop your preconception about New York and get there to witness this amazing show of all the Abstract Expressionists (Though I think they missed Milton Resnick)



  1. Congrats Jeffery! Ad Reinhardt's work is wonderful. Isn't there that something about black. The power as it were. You are so correct about these paintings and painters. Seeing their pictures can sure charge you up!

  2. Great you finally got to see a 'black' Reinhardt in person. They are amazing if you take the time with them. Imagine a room full of them which I had the pleasure of seeing in the early nineties at MOMA. None of the paintings have a glossy sheen as part of the imagery, that is a quirk of trying to reproduce paintings that reside at the edge of perception. The dark tones vary somewhat to make for slightly greater or lesser degrees of contrast between the squares but all have a super matte finish. (unless they have been poorly restored) A couple of years ago the Guggenheim had a fascinating show about the restoration of Reinhardt paintings.

  3. I would have LOVED to see the restoration show. I remember hearing things about it. Being that one of my friends is really into painting restoration and conservation. One of the things he was speaking of is the patina that these paintings get over the years, especially if they are out in the gallery all the time and not sealed up in the crate.

    It is strange the way they made the images look in his big catalog, but they don't really look like that in person. Edge of perception is a great term for these paintings.

    Cheers to you Don and Matthew.


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Columbus, Ohio, United States