The collage medium was an important catalyst in Reinhardt's development, one which he credited with having accelerated his ability to discard representational forms in his art. "The collage," he acknowledged, "with its spontaneous and accidental aspects, along with the perfectly controlled, is an important medium for me" (quoted in L. Lippard, op. cit., p. 31). Reinhardt's earliest collages, from 1938, were brightly colored construction paper studies for paintings. By 1939, he was working in a more all-over manner characterized by further fragmentation of shapes in order to achieve a completely non-representational effect. Ironically, the materials he was primarily using at this time were magazine clippings, and book and newspaper images; however, they are cut down to the point that their imagery is unrecognizable. Indeed, Reinhardt's intense distaste for Surrealism, a movement which at that time had dominated the collage aesthetic and the use of found materials, led him to strive to avoid any evocative effect.
While Reinhardt is certainly indebted to Mondrian, Picasso and Gris, his primary influence during this period was Stuart Davis, at that time the best-known American abstract painter, whose studio happened to be next door. Inspired by Davis' mature understanding of the European avant-garde, Reinhardt adopted the synthetic Cubist character of the elder artist's work as a model for the gradual divestment of representational imagery from his own work.
From Davis, Reinhardt also understood Mir's work as a curvilinear variety of Cubism, a way to paint Cubist pictures without the hard edges of Mondrian's rectangles (ibid., p. 29). In the present collage, vestiges of machine-like shapes bulge against the flat ground; the structure is not yet entirely homogenous. The snaking, non-representational forms effect feelings of movement and space, and establish this work as a precursor to Reinhardt's painting of the next decade.