Born Adolph Dietrich Friedrich Reinhardt in Buffalo, New York, Ad Reinhardt, like Donald Judd, studied art history with Meyer Schapiro at Columbia University, New York. Reinhardt had his first solo exhibition of paintings in 1943 and showed regularly at New York’s Betty Parsons Gallery. In a 1962 essay, Judd wrote, “One of the best shows last year at Parsons was that of Ad Reinhardt, a contemporary of the Abstract Expressionists, who very stubbornly continued to paint in a geometric style regardless of the Expressionist victory.”1
Judd met Reinhardt for the first time in the early 1960s, when Judd was living at 53 East Nineteenth Street. As Judd described in an interview in 1988, “I used to meet—just in the same building, going to get the Sunday New York Times on a Saturday night, it probably happened three or four times, you’d run into Ad Reinhardt, who usually didn’t want to talk either, but he always wanted to talk in the cold, for a half an hour, on the street corner. I never went to his house, but he lived nearby, somewhat.”2
In 1947, Reinhardt wrote in Arts & Architecture, “The expressive and structural meaning of color space in painting is my main interest.”3 In this small painting, two stripes of gray cross subtly at right angles against a darker gray ground. Judd writes, “In Reinhardt’s paintings, just back from the plane of the canvas, there is a flat plane and this seems in turn indefinitely deep.”4
Judd installed another painting by Reinhardt, Abstract Painting, Red, 1952, on the second floor of 101 Spring Street.