Oil on canvas
Framed: 231 x 99 x 4 cm (90 15/16 x 39 x 1 9/16 in.); Unframed: 228.6 x 96.5 cm (90 x 38 in.)
Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1973.211
© Estate of Burgoyne Diller / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
During the Great Depression, while trying to support his education at the Art Students League, Diller painted signs for restaurants in exchange for meals.
For much of his long and productive career, Burgoyne Diller sought to create the illusion of volume and space through colors on a flat surface. He pursued this effort by exploring three themes, all involving geometric forms against contrasting backgrounds. In "First Theme" paintings, floating rectangular shapes are dominant. In "Second" and "Third Theme" works, these elements become part of increasingly complex grid systems. The controlled and ordered tensions in this First Theme painting result from a long and painstaking process of creation. Diller composed his works by arranging colored paper rectangles on a canvas. When satisfied with their placement, he removed them and painted the shapes in primary colors, as well as black, white, and gray. He often rubbed the surface with fine sandpaper to avoid the distraction of glare and remove any indication of brushmarks, along with all evidence of emotional expressiveness.
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