A Brief Biography


Born in Marshalltown, Iowa in 1937, Thor Rinden worked for four decades in the privacy of his Brooklyn, NY studio, producing luminous and profound paintings on canvas, wood and paper. Many of Rinden’s most original works are “wovens,” that is, works in which the artist wove colorful, interlocking strips of canvas into patterned designs, anchoring them to stretcher frames; and “slab paintings,” in which smaller, meticulously constructed canvas frames are embedded into larger ones. Prolific in his solitude, Rinden created a body of extraordinarily beautiful work which brilliantly combines his Iowa roots (with its plotted farmland and geometric quilts) with the traditions of New York abstraction of the 1970’s and 1980’s

While Rinden never pursued representation by a commercial dealer, his work appeared in a number of group shows, and is part of the permanent collection of museums at Smith College, Randolph College, Drexel University, the University of Iowa, and Oxford University in Oxford, UK. It is also held in many private collections, including that of the New York developer John Zuccotti, an early and ongoing admirer of the artist’s work.

With his wife, Jane, an English teacher, Rinden thoroughly renovated their home in Brooklyn, a project which attracted significant media attention. The Rindens combined their creativity and resourcefulness with years of hands-on labor, and documented each step in a charming set of visual journals, which will become part of the city’s history. See articles about the house.

The Estate of Jane Rinden is advancing the artist’s legacy by placing his finest paintings and constructions in public and private collections. Contact us through the contact page or by email at thorrinden@gmail.com.



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Bachelor’s of Science, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Master of Arts, Hunter College, New York, NY


Smith College Museum of Art Northampton, MA
Maier Museum of Art Randolph College, Lynchburg, VA
The University of Iowa Museum of Art Iowa City, IA
Corpus Christi College Oxford University, Oxford, England


2000 "Eight Paintings,” Classic Stage Company, New York, NY

1993 "Modern Geometry,” Ward-Nasse Gallery, New York, NY

1993 "Varieties of Vision: 12 Contemporaries and Their Personal Paths,” Brooklyn Union Gas Co. Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

1993 "Good and Plenty,” Art in General Gallery, New York, NY

1989 "New Abstraction,” Weatherspoon Art Gallery, Univ. of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC

1989 "Small Scale Abstraction: Part I,” Art in General Gallery, New York, NY

1987 "Small Works,” BACA Downtown, Brooklyn, NY

1986 "New Abstract Paintings,” Cork Gallery, New York, NY

1985 "On, Of and About Paper,” The Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

1985 "Selections from the Artists’ File,” Artists Space, New York, NY

1985 Group show, Art in General Gallery, New York, NY

1984 "Hundreds of Drawings,” Artists Space, New York, NY

1983 "Repeating Images,” The Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

1980 "Brooklyn ’80,” The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY