Second Theme

Burgoyne Diller (American, New York, New York 1906–1965 New York, New York)

Oil on canvas
H. 30-1/8, W. 30 inches (76.5 x 76.2 cm.)
Credit Line:
George A. Hearn Fund, 1963
Accession Number:
  • Description

    Influenced by the non-objective abstractions of the Russian Constructivist Kazimir Malevich, and Dutch de Stijl artists such as Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg from the 1910s and ‘20s, Diller devised his own abstract formats in the 1930s. Called "first," "second," and "third" themes they explored the movement generated by different arrangements of geometric forms within a square canvas. "Second theme" pictures, such as this, featured a grid system within which rectangular bands of differing widths extended across the canvas.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Signature: Signed and dated (on stretcher): diller 1938-40

  • Exhibition History

    New York: Joan T. Washburn, October 17 - November 18, 1995. ¦Referencing Mondrian No. 1¦. Exh. cat, illustrated on front cover in color.

    New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, September 13 – November 25, 1990. "Burgoyne Diller." Exhibition catalogue by Barbara Haskell, pp. 52 fig. 59 (illustrated in color), 55, 178 (“Works in Exhibition”).

    New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Art Gallery, October 18 - December 2, 1979. "Mondrian and Neo-Plasticism in America". Cat. no. 8, p. 26, discussed (illus. p. 27).

    Albuquerque, New Mexico: Art Museum, University of New Mexico, February 27 - April 3, 1977. "American Abstract Artists". listed and illustrated p. 25.

    San Juan, Puerto Rico: Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, April 19 - June 2, 1974."Twentieth Century Art: U.S.A. from The Metropolitan Museum of Art". No. 15, p. 42 (ill.), p. 42-43 (discussed).

    Chicago, Illinois: Museum of Contemporary Art, March 31 - May 13, 1973. "Post-Mondrian Abstraction in America". Illus. in B&W.

    Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, December 12, 1971 – January 16, 1972; Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, February 16 – March 26, 1972; Pasadena Art Museum, May 9 – July 2, 1972. "Burgoyne Diller: Paintings Sculptures Drawings." Exh. cat. pp. 16 cat. no. 4 (illustrated in b & w), 22 (“Checklist of the Exhibition”).

    New York: B. Altman, December 4 - 10, 1969.

    New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1965. "Three Centuries of American Painting".

  • References

    Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute. "Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America, 1927 - 1944", Cat. no. 38.

    M.M.A. American Painting in the Twentieth Century. 1965, p. 148 (ill., discussed), p. 213 (short biography on the artist).

  • See also