Second Theme

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

Date: 1949

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 26 x 26 in. (66 x 66 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of William Benenson, 1991

Accession Number: 1991.402.7

Rights and Reproduction: Art © Estate of Burgoyne Diller/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY


For almost three decades (1930s–1965), Diller pursued the three compositional variants he had devised for his geometric abstractions. While most of these works were executed in bright red, blue, yellow, black, and white paint, others were limited to black, white, and gray, which emphasized structure over movement. When this painting was shown in New York in 1949, Diller was well-respected within the American arts community, but shortly thereafter he was eclipsed by the Abstract Expressionists whose emotional, gestural paintings were the opposite of his highly controlled, intellectual designs.