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Adolph Dietrich Friedrich Reinhardt ("Ad" Reinhardt) was an Abstract expressionist painter, a writer, and a pioneer of conceptual and minimal art. He was also a critic of abstract expressionism. He was born in Buffalo, New York, and studied art history at Columbia University. Reinhardt went on to study painting with Carl Holty and Francis Criss at the American Artists School, then at the National Academy of Design under Karl Anderson. From 1936, he worked for the WPA Federal Art Project, and he soon became a member of the American Abstract Artists group. Having completed his studies at the New York University Institute of Fine Arts, Reinhardt became a teacher at Brooklyn College and later at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, the University of Wyoming, Yale University and Hunter College, New York. Reinhardt's earliest exhibited paintings avoided representation, but show a steady progression away from objects and external reference. His work progressed from compositions of geometrical shapes in the 40s to works in different shades of the same color (all red, all blue, all white) in the 50s. Reinhardt is best known for his so-called "black" paintings of the 1960s, which appear at first glance to be simply canvases painted black but are actually composed of black and nearly black shades. Among many other suggestions, these paintings ask if there can be such a thing as an absolute, even in black, which some viewers may not consider a color at all. He produced several thousand cartoons and illustrations and did a prodigious amount of other commericial art work and typographical design for magazines and book publishers. He illustrated the highly influential pamplet "Races of Mankind" and a childrens book "A Good Man and His Good Wife".
Reinhardt died August 30, 1967, in New York.
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