Text by Heinz Liesbrock
From the outset, the paintings of Ad Reinhardt (1913–1967) were from the start defined by clear, geometric forms. An encounter with Josef Albers in the late 1930s greatly influenced Reinhardt’s subsequent approach to color, and the two artists maintained a lifelong respect for one another’s work (in 1952 Albers offered Reinhardt a guest professorship at Yale, where he was then teaching). The sympathies between their arts lie in the extremity of their geometric reductions, which Reinhardt eventually also applied to color by reducing it to minutely differentiated squares of black on a five-square-foot canvas; but both Albers and Reinhardt envision painting as an art of geometric combinations of color. Reinhardt’s statement that his black paintings were “the last paintings anyone can make” betrays his debt to Albers, for his works do indeed seem to conclude the investigations opened by Albers’ Homage to the Square series. This volume surveys their affinities.