b. 1913, Buffalo, New York; d. 1967, New York
Ad Reinhardt was born Adolph Dietrich Friedrich Reinhardt on December 24, 1913, in Buffalo, New York. He studied art history under Meyer Schapiro at Columbia University, New York (1931–35), and painting with Carl Holty and Francis Criss at the American Artists School (1936–37). He also studied at the National Academy of Design with Karl Anderson in 1936, worked for the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project (1936–39), and was a member (1937–47) of the American Abstract Artists group. Reinhardt later continued his studies at the New York University Institute of Fine Arts (1946–51).
Reinhardt’s influence as a teacher and writer was as significant as his art. He taught at Brooklyn College (1947–67). He also lectured at the California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco (1950); University of Wyoming, Laramie (1951); Yale University, New Haven (1952–53); and Hunter College, New York (1959–67).
Reinhardt was given his first solo exhibition at Columbia Teachers College in 1943, and by 1946 was showing regularly with the Betty Parsons Gallery, New York. Reinhardt was a pioneer of Hard-edge painting at this time. In the 1950s, he began to limit his palette to a single color, moving from red to blue and then to his final stage of black paintings. In 1966, the Jewish Museum, New York, organized an exhibition of his paintings, which was accompanied by a catalogue with texts by Lucy Lippard and the artist. Reinhardt’s essays influenced many Conceptual artists in the 1970s. In 1970, the Marlborough Gallery, New York, exhibited the Black Paintings executed between 1951 and 1967. In 1972, the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, West Germany, organized a solo exhibition, which traveled to the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands; Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich; Centre national d’art contemporain, Paris; and Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts (now Museum moderner Kunst), Vienna. In 1980 the Guggenheim Museum mounted Reinhardt and Color, and in 1991 the Museum of Modern Art, New York, organized a major exhibition of Reinhardt’s work. Reinhardt died on August 30, 1967, in New York.