Adolph P. Reinhardt Biography

Adolph P. Reinhardt




Painter and printmaker Adolph "Ad" Reinhardt was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1913. An early interest in art, particularly painting, earned him awards in high school and a full scholarship to study art history and philosophy at Columbia University in 1931. While there, he also enrolled in painting classes at Columbia's Teachers College until graduation in 1935. Reinhardt chose to pursue painting full time and furthered his studies under Carl Holty at the American Artists School and, simultaneously, with Karl Anderson at the National Academy of Design.


From 1936 to 1940 Reinhardt was employed in the Federal Art Project as a teacher in the easel division, and he became a member with the American Abstract Artists group, with whom he first began exhibiting. He enrolled at New York University to earn his Masters in Fine Art, which was put on hold when he was drafted into the U.S. Navy in 1945. Upon his return he completed his studies and graduated in 1947, taking a teaching position at Brooklyn College. He had a secondary career as a commercial artist while continuing to exhibit and teach, and was employed by the art periodical PM and Jester, a humor magazine, as well as occasional contributions to the New York Times, Glamour, the American Jewish Labor Council, the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the Saturday Evening Post, among others.


Reinhardt was known for his interest in and advocation of non-objective Abstraction, deviating from the Surrealist and Expressionist paths of many of his peers and developing what would become known as the Hard-Edge painting style. He also found inspiration in the mathematical patterning of Islamic art and the calligraphic nature of Japanese and Chinese art, styles that would influence his later career.

Early shows included the Peggy Guggenheim Gallery and his first solo exhibition took place at the Columbia Teachers College in 1943. Representation by famed collector Betty Parsons led to annual shows at the Betty Parsons Gallery beginning in 1946, and he was a regular participant in shows at the Whitney Museum. In 1966 the Jewish Museum held an exhibition of his paintings with accompanying writings by the artist and Lucy Lippard. Reinhardt died on August 30, 1967 in New York.