Born in Leicester, Britain, Reginald Neal moved to Decatur, Illinois at an early age. Neal first studied at the School of Fine Arts at Yale University in 1929-1930. In 1932 he received his BA from Bradley University. He continued studying art history at Chicago University, earning his masters degree in 1939. Five years later, he had his first one-man show in Chicago. In the late 1940s Neal was the director of the Old Northwest Territories Art Exhibit, a juried exhibition of artists from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin at the Illinois State Fair.
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His Op Art works, which were generally black-and-white, explored the optical elements that produced flickering, vibrating, and pulsating effects. Equally well known as a teacher and as an art theorist, Neal taught at the Escuela de Bellas Artes, Mexico, and the Contemporaries Graphic Center, New York. In 1965, Reginald Neal participated in The Responsive Eye at The Museum of Modern Art with a moiré patterned work titled Square of Three: Black and Yellow, 1964. Square of Three used Neal's method of layering overlapping screenprinted lines to create a moiré effect. In the 1960s Neal was represented by the Amel Gallery in New York, including solo exhibitions in 1965, 1966, and 1968.
The New Jersey State Museum held a retrospective titled Reginald Neal: Works from 1958 to the Present in 1989. A retrospective of Neals prints was held at the Zimmerli Museum at Rutgers University in 1986.
Neal exhibited at such museums as the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Texas; Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, Slovenia; and the Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio. His works are part of the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, Washington, DC; Brigham Young University, Provo, UT; Princeton University, New Jersey; the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; and the James A. Michener Collection at University of Texas at Austin. Reginald Neal died in 1992.