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Paint It Black

"Trägt nicht alles, was uns begeistert, die Farbe der Nacht?"
Novalis: Hymnen an die Nacht


Paul Bilhaud: "Combat de nègres dans un tunnel," 1882.
[Black canvas with gold frame; reproduced in Allais (1897)
"Combat de nègres dans une cave, pendant la nuit" .]

Man Ray: Photo Noire, 1930.
("À Robert Desnos – plein des
choses qui absorbent la lumière")


Endre Tot: Dada-Messe in Berlin, 1989



Kazimir Malevich:
Black Square, 1915

Aleksandr Rodchenko:
Composition 64-68, 1918




Léon Tutundjian:
Sans Titre, 1928

Louise Nevelson:
Relief, 1956

21 Bouten, 1961




Pierre Soulages:
Sans Titre, 1948

Arnulf Rainer:
Gitterbild, 1953



Robert Rauschenberg:
Untitled (Glossy Black Painting),

Franco Bemporad:
Catrame, 1957

Herbert Zangs:
Schwarzarbeit, 1958

Bram Bogart: Émigré, 1959

Lucio Fontana: Concetto Spaciale, 1960

Mishio Yushihara: Untitled, 1959

Albert Burri: Nero Legno, 1961




Ad Reinhardt: Painting, 1954-1958

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Ionian Sea, 1990

Note: Reinhardt's "Last paintings" and Sugimoto's seascape photographs are not "monochromes" in the strictest sense, though they would look uniformly black to the casual glance of a passer-by. These pieces demand a very active kind of observation, which reveals (very simple) patterns, created by different tones of black. The ambiguity which constitutes their perceptual essence is impossible to reproduce through a small-scale image on a computer screen. Nonetheless, they cannot be skipped in this anthology.


James Lee Byars:
Untitled, 1959

Steven Parrino:
Untitled, 1995

Bernard Aubertin:
Monochrome Noir, 2000



Dick Higgins:
Black Mirror, 1959

Bernar Venet:
Relief Carton, 1964

Quentin Morris: Untitled, 1974

Richard Serra: Zadikians, 1974

Noriyuki Haraguchi:
Untitled (CD 40), 1981

Allan McCollum:
Plaster Surrogate, 1982/1991

Anish Kapoor:
At the Hub of Things, 1987

Gunter Umberg:
Untitled, 1991

Sherry Levine:
Black Mirror, 2004

Eric Doeringer:
Black Video Monochrome
, 2006


More black paintings:

       Malevich & Rodchenko: From Suprematism to the monochrome.      

       Rauschenberg's monochromes (white, black, red, gold).     

       Herbert Zangs: Schwarzarbeiten.      

       Übermalung (Soulages, Rauschenberg, Rainer, Hoehme).      

       Übermalung: Soulages.

       Übermalung: Rainer.            



Alphonse Allais: Album Primo-Avrilesque. Paris: Ollendorf, 1897. [Préface.]

Denys Riout: La peinture monochrome. Histoire et archéologie d'un genre.
Édition revue et augmentée. Paris: Gallimard, 2006.