Reinhardt, Ad (1913–1967) By Marie, Annika
Ad Reinhardt, the American painter and illustrator-cartoonist, was born in 1913 and raised in New York City. Reinhardt attended Columbia College, pursued graduate studies in Asian art at New York University, and taught art and art history for twenty years at Brooklyn College. As a painter, Reinhardt was committed to pure abstract painting—what he termed “art-as-art.” His pursuit of abstraction brought him into contact with the American Abstract Artists in the 1930s, with the Abstract Expressionists in the 1940s, and with Color-field painting and Minimalism in the 1960s. The black square paintings, begun in 1960, are exemplary of his extreme formal reduction. Uniformly five by five feet and matte black, Reinhardt made these monochromatic paintings for the last six years of his life. Reinhardt was also a prolific illustrator and cartoonist. His work appeared in leftist publications such as the New Masses and P.M. and was used in support of political organizations such as the Artists’ Union and the American Artists’ Congress. His later cartoons were often directed at art-world corruption.