We're now looking at a painting by Ad Reinhardt painted in 1950, called Number 107. 1950, a very critical moment for a number of New York School painters. It's the year that de Kooning's Woman I was begun, recall that painting took a couple years to finish. Also the year of Newman's masterwork Vir Heroicus Sublimis. Now this moment finds Reinhardt in a very calligraphic mode, and recall that Reinhardt among many other things was also an art historian of both Middle Eastern and East Asian classicisms, Reinhardt certainly familiar with Japanese ukiyo-e painting among many Asian modes of painting. And just very quickly thinking about classical Asian, Chinese, Japanese painting, usually we're working on a very absorbent support, Chinese paper, something like that which is far more absorbent than typical Western paper, and working with ink, typically black ink, not always. In other words, when you're working on paper the ink is absorbed into the paper, it stays wet, meaning that you can't really edit it in the way that you can with oil paint. Because as you start to rework the same areas you begin to actually physically destroy the paper and the pulp of the paper comes up. Because of this certain styles, ukiyo-e among them, really privilege spontaneity of the painter, if you think of the so called Buddhist and Taoist paintings where gestural activity is actually critical. The connections between various Asian classicisms and the New York School is actually quite complicated. Many of these painters were actually studying Zen Buddhism in a relatively novice way, going to the classes of Daisetsu Suzuki up at Columbia University now Reinhardt, by the way, was one of them. Reinhardt, by the way, was also one of the few of them who also was extremely familiar actually with that art history that at certain times became so tied up in Zen Buddhism, and in 1950 this is what comes out for Reinhardt. By the way, a number of trends in Reinhardt that would really dominate the rest of his career, by that I mean 55 to 67 the year of his death, are already evident here. We can't truly say that this is a monochrome painting since there are two colors, the color of the paint and the color of the priming, a or b if you will. Rather this is what I'll prefer to call a tonal painting meaning that every color that you see in this painting is a function of those two, but can be found somewhere between the two actually. So we can have the color of that paint a, the color of that ground b, or everything in between which itself is a function of the translucency of that paint. In other words we can have very thick paint applications, which have a recognizable amount of impasto anyway, where the opacity of that paint allows you to really read the color of that white. Well of course we have the color of that ground underneath, but then we have everything in between. And the thinner that paint is applied, in other words the more it's brushed out, the more we're reading that darker ground color through that lighter paint, in other words a tonal painting, every color on a scale between two other colors. Grisaille painting, or grayscale painting, is the most common kind of tonal painting moving between black and white, it's essentially grayscale painting if you will, a version of that here. But now getting back to gesture for a moment, for those of you who know Reinhardt's late work, and by this point you'll at least have a sampling of it, you'll know that gesture is something that Reinhardt increasingly erased, increasingly removed from his work. The trace of the artist's hand that was so important for that spontaneity, for this kind of idea that action painting was something that actually had to do with the artist's ego, was something that actually was anathema to much of Reinhardt's thinking, and again thinking about his interest in Middle Eastern and East Asian classicisms goes some of the way to explaining that, more on the next painting we'll look at. But at this moment in 1950 we actually see Reinhardt working in quite a gestural mode, which is to say kind of related to the Franz Klines and the de Koonings of the world actually before he kind of reneged on that and removed his own hand from the paint. Now what we see here is referential brushwork, we see largely horizontal brushwork, but not totally, we have diagonals. But everything is related to the grid, related to this stacking of these blocks of color, if you will. Now this is not the blocks of color of Mondrian, which are truly blocks of color, but rather these blocks which are actually brushstrokes. And we can really see Reinhardt doubling back with his brush, blurring wet paint and this is oil by the way, it has a lot of solvent, it has a lot of medium added to it as well. And we can see everything from these very, very fluid, very fast brushstrokes, to these kind of scumbles, these dry brush skipping marks where the tops of the canvas are being highlighted here, to these very solvent-rich blurs of paint staining the canvas almost. Now let's get to that canvas, it's primed, and in this area of the painting we're just seeing the priming, there's no paint applied above it, it's a warm color, this is lead white. It's an oil priming, something that many artists did at the time, by the way I don't suggest that you do this because oil paint takes a long time to dry and working with an acrylic priming or PVA priming is going to really get you to essentially the same part, unless you're really concerned with that specific color of the priming, in this case I'll suggest that Reinhardt certainly was. Reinhardt's thinking about the tension between these two whites, if you will. The white of the paint, a high value, very light color, slightly warm. And then the white of the ground which is actually much lower in value, it's not nearly as white, it's also much lower in chroma, it's kind of a muddy color and it has a much warmer tonality. So you have this interplay between these two colors that we've already been over a little bit talking about the tonal aspects of this painting. But another thing to note is is that if you really look at this canvas you'll notice that the high points of the canvas appear quite dark. Physically the canvas, the highest points of it appear dark and that's because Reinhardt has sanded the priming back so that those high points of the canvas are exactly where the sandpaper will hit. And by doing that he's actually even darkened that canvas further, because now the darkness of that linen starts peeking through in all of those high spots of the warps and wefts of the canvas itself. So what we have here, again thinking about ukiyo-e and other very spontaneous Chinese and Japanese modes of painting, is a painting that was probably painted, despite its size, very, very quickly.