Burgoyne Diller American, 1906-1965


"How does one express the creative moment?... or the creative life?... you tidy up the studio... wash your brushes, clean the palette... make little drawings... find yourself getting interested... Space is realized... the image is clear."

– Burgoyne Diller

Burgoyne Diller began his career at the New York Art Students League and later became a supervising artist with the Works Progress Administration. The small, gestural Color Sketch from 1932 was completed in one of Diller's final years as an art student prior to his involvement with the WPA. 


Diller was among the first American artists to explore the possibilities of hard edge geometric abstraction and colour field, and his innovative typology of three aesthetic "themes" structured his work. Difficult circumstances in the 1950s (including a studio flood that destroyed his artwork storage) had a devastating effect on Diller. Today, institutions recognize his immense contributions to the development of American abstraction. Andre Emmerich once wrote about Diller that “the hand of the artist is never so clearly revealed as in his drawings.”


Diller's works are held in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hirschhorn Museum, the National Gallery, and the Whitney Museum, among others.

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