Diamondism At Last! Or, What It Takes to Make a Good Picture by Yun Gee • 1939

Diamondism Text

Every sincere painting tries to find an adequate expression of its time, in expressing how people look at things and at what.

Modern civilization forced people to make the most of everything: of love, work, entertainment. We look for the highly concentrated essence of everything. We want everything bottled up, labeled, ready for immediate use – expecting a violent reaction. That applies to material matters as well as abstract matters. We want the red-hot Inside Information, the low-down on life in the 20th Century.


Diamondism acts as a prism, a one-way glass. It is nothing but a medium, not a cause, but a power. It is up to the artist to use it. Up to the spectator as well . . .

Cubism wanted to give the Inside Information too. Why was it a failure? Because [the Cubists] proceeded by slicing up objects. In the end things did not look like they were. Nobody could make anything out of it. If I cut a wooden cube in slices and present them to you, you cannot tell whether it is a cube or a pyramid. If I cut a human face into pieces, you cannot tell who it is.

But people of the 20th Century want things to look like they are supposed to look. We want a motor car to look like a motor car. And we despise those horrible “electromobiles” which tried to look like horse-driven carriages. We like a [glass] clock . . . which shows the inside mechanism. But it still must look like a clock and tell at first glance the time . . .

Everybody recognizes the shape of a human body. And still it does not look like any human body you can see in town. It is everything but a “true to life” wax model! And yet it shows in the most perfect way the inside of man. Without being ugly or recognizable.

That is Diamondism in painting.