Everyone carries his own inch-rule of taste, and amuses
himself by applying it, triumphantly, wherever he travels.
The arts are the only things that separate us from the
other animals. The arts are not decorative ... They are essential to
our comprehension of consciousness and ourselves.
Sometimes I think all my pictures are just pictures of
The arts convey truths; they are imagination crystallized;
and as they transport the soul they reshape the perceptions and possibly
the life of the beholder. To perform this feat requires genius, because
it is not a mechanical act.
Images require silence.
ART, n. This word has no definition.
Nations are destroyed or flourish, in proportion as their
poetry, painting, and music are destroyed or flourish.
Only one thing in art is valid, that which cannot be explained.
Art is not a mirror to reflect reality, but a hammer with
which to shape it.
Mystery is the basic element of all works of art.
[A] field must have a structure if it is to be the subject
of scholarly or scientific understanding. Where the formal possibilities
have become infinite, not only authentic creation but also its scholarly
analysis become correspondingly difficult.
Every man's work, whether it be literature or music or pictures
or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.
[Abstract art is a] product of the untalented, sold by the
unprincipled to the utterly bewildered.
Art, it seems to me, should simplify. That, indeed, is very
nearly the whole of the higher artistic process; finding what conventions
of form and what detail one can do without and yet preserve the spirit
of the whole — so that all that one has suppressed and cut away
is there to the reader's consciousness.
The same subject seen from a different angle gives a motif
of the highest interest, and so varied that I think I could be occupied
for months without changing my place — simply bending a little more
to the right or left.
Painting from Nature is not copying the object, it is realizing
You are right in demanding that an artist approach his work
consciously, but you are confusing two concepts: the solution of a problem
and the correct formulation of a problem. Only the second is required
of the artist.
Though [these brilliant and beautiful new pictures] captivate
us at first sight, the pleasure does not last, while the very roughness
and crudity of old paintings maintains their hold on us.
[W]hat the title of artist means: one who perceives more
than his fellows, and who records more than he has seen.
Criticism is easy, art is difficult.
The more wise and powerful a master, the more directly is
his work created, and the simpler it is.
One must not always think so much about what one should
do, but rather what one should be. Our works do not ennoble us; but we
must ennoble our works.
Every artist writes his own autobiography.
Nonsense and beauty have close connections.
When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty.
I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished,
if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
Basically, I no longer work for anything but the sensation
I have while working.
No human masterpiece has ever been created without great
By his restrictions the master proclaims himself.
One is never satisfied with a portrait of a person that
One must be something to be able to do something.
Create, artist! Do not talk!
Individuality of expression is the beginning and the end
of all art.
Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters;
united with it, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels.
There are six essentials in painting. The first is called
spirit; the second, rhythm; the third, thought; the fourth, scenery; the
fifth, the brush; and the last is the ink.
Resemblance reproduces the formal aspect of objects, but
neglects their spirit; truth shows the spirit and substance in like perfection.
Before 1880, the idea that every work of art contains and
talks to its own history, and that this conversation is part of its meaning,
was taken more or less for granted as the background of aesthetic experience.
The Arts are man's most useless ... an essential ... activity.
In art economy is always beauty.
A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional
and are the portals of discovery.
Life isn't a support system for art. It's the other way
The Devil whispered behind the leaves, "It's pretty,
but is it Art? ... the Devil whoops, as he whooped of old: "It's
clever, but is it Art?"
It's not art. It is very disrupting when you see it.
Art is the objectification of feeling, and the subjectification
Never trust the artist. Trust the tale. The proper function
of a critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it.
Intellectual passion drives out sensuality.
All art is erotic.
The modern man who tattoos himself is either a criminal
or a degenerate.
The evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal
of ornament from utilitarian objects.
One cannot create an art that speaks to men when one has
nothing to say.
Nine times out of ten, in the arts as in life, there is
actually no truth to be discovered; there is only error to be exposed.
[T]he cult of anti-life — anti-order, anti-intelligence,
anti-design — now dominates the arts.
In this world of inverted values [Dada], evil becomes the
supreme good, and the capacity to make moral discriminations and personal
choices, to inhibit destructive or murderous impulses, to pursue distant
ends for humane purposes, becomes an offense against the rehabilitated
God of lawlessness and disorder. An inverted moralism.
As in man's earliest departures from his dumb animal forebears,
it is into the arts of expression and communication that the most intense
human energies have until now always poured: here, and not in manufacture
or engineering, was the major realm of invention.
We have art to save ourselves from the truth.
Art is unthinkable without risk and spiritual self-sacrifice.
Effort supposes resistance.
I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.
Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.
Thanks to art, instead of seeing a single world, our own,
we see it multiply until we have before us as many worlds as there are
Works of art are always products of having been in danger,
of having gone to the very end in an experience, to where man can go no
All great art is the work of the whole living creature,
body and soul, and chiefly of the soul.
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to
add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
Every time I paint a portrait I lose a friend.
All art is but imitation of nature.
The greatness of art is not to find what is common but what
The sole substitute for an experience which we have not
ourselves lived through is art and literature.
Talent can't be taught, but it can be awakened.
Hurray for the transparent, the clear! Hurray for purity!
Hurray for crystal! Hurray and again hurray for the fluid, the graceful,
the angular, the sparkling, the flashing, the light — hurray for
Art is a human activity having for its purpose the transmission
to others of the highest and best feelings to which men have arisen.
Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world
[A]rt should never try to be popular. The public should
try to make itself artistic.
An artist who theorizes about his work is no longer artist
[An] unsettling element in modern art is that common symptom
of immaturity, the dread of doing what has been done before.
Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our
aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.
In the arts, the desire to find new things to say and new
ways of saying them is the source of all life and interest.
It is through art, and through art only, that we can realize
our perfection; through art and art only that we can shield ourselves
from the sordid perils of actual existence.
On the whole, audiences prefer that art be not a mirror
held up to life, but a Disneyland of the soul, containing Romanceland,
Spyland, Pornoland and all the other escapelands which are so much more
agreeable than the complex truth.
Don't try to put into words something that cannot be expressed.
Criticism comes easier than craftsmanship.
A work of art is a corner of creation seen through a temperament.