Adolph Frederick Reinhardt was born December 24, 1913 in Buffalo, New York. Reinhardt thought of himself a painter at an early age and consistently practiced painting. During his high school years he won prizes for his paintings in local competitions. Graduating from high school he felt as though he had obtained all of the his fundamentals and turned down many scholarships from various art colleges and attended Columbia University from 1931 to 1935 where he studied art history. He also took many painting classes while at Columbia. After graduating, Reinhardt went to study painting with Carl Holty and Francis Criss at the American Artists School; while, at the same time he studied portraiture at the National Academy of Design with Karl Anderson.
After his time in school he got a job working for the for the WPA Federal Art Project. While working for the WPA he met a lot of other artists interested in abstraction an he became a member of the American Abstract Artists group. Being apart of this group pushed Reinhardt painting to new levels. He participated in group shows with his fellow contemporaries at the Peggy Guggenheim and held his first solo show at Artists Gallery in 1943. Reinhardt gained considerable recognition during his group and solo shows and legitimized himself as a figure head of the abstract painting movement during the 1940 protests against the Museum of Modern Art. Reinhardt became a Professor at Brooklyn College in 1947. He also held teaching positions at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, University of Wyoming, Yale University, and Hunter College.
Reinhardt avoided representation in his earlier works primarily dealing with with geometric shapes and color, then transitioned to dealing with compositions of the same color. Perhaps his most famous works are his sears of black paintings in the 1960s. Reinhardt is also known for his writings on his own work and that of his contemporaries. His critical analysis of his and others paintings in his writings are still looked on as controversial to this day.