Favorite Quotations ∼ Mostly on Art

Back  |  Home  > Quotations
A man's work is nothing but the slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, the two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.
– Albert Camus
All good art has contained both abstract and surrealist elements, just as it has contained both classical and romantic elements - order and surprise, intellect and imagination, conscious and unconscious. BOTH SIDES of the artist's personality must play their part.
– Henry Moore
Art completes what nature cannot bring to finish
– Aristotle
Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.
– Paul Klee
Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.
– Oscar Wilde
Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers -- and never succeeding.
– Marc Chagall
Contraria contraiis curantur
Opposites are cured by opposites
*               *               *
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
– Scott Adams
Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.
– William Plomer
Criticism is easy, art is difficult.
– Detouches [Philippe Nericault]
Despite being accused of murdering painting c. 1839, photography has harboured a major inferiority complex towards its older brother for most of its history. The first attempt to put itself on equal terms was Pictorialism, a fin-de-siecle movement whose aim was to purify a medium that they believed had been corrupted by commercial interests.
– Craig Burnett
Drawing and color are not separate at all; in so far as you paint, you draw. The more color harmonizes, the more exact the drawing becomes. When the color achieves richness, the form attains its fullness also.
– Paul Cezanne
Especially in Manhattan in the art world, even if they know you personally, they could have known you for years; they don't really like your work or you, until they hear it from someone else that they respect.
– Mark Enger
Every painting is a war. You have to struggle every day, and to struggle every day with your inadequacies is a damn nuisance.
– Neil Welliver
Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas
Fortunate is he or she who has been able to learn the causes of things
*               *               *
First I saw the mountains in the painting; then I saw the painting in the mountains.
– Chinese Proverb
Flecti non frangi
To be bent is not to be broken
*               *               *
He made a liberation and a pledge - kept for the rest of Philip Guston's life - to fuse thought and action, to make a record of his experience, and to follow his instinct, no matter how strange, stark or ugly its revelations. After that hour in 1951 Guston never again planned his painterly moves in advance. And in the last, great, decade of his life, he almost never turned away from a painting until it was finished, arguing with it through the night until a truce, or at least a compromise, had been reached.
– Nicole Krauss
History has remembered the kings and warriors, because they destroyed; Art has remembered the people, because they created.
– William Morris
I build a painting by putting little marks together--some look like hot dogs, some like doughnuts.
– Chuck Close
I started to try to be a colorist, although secretly thinking of myself as somewhat of a black and whiteist.
– Susan Rothenberg
I think there has to be an interesting transformative process between your perception of reality and making the paintings. If you are just trying to render what you see you are not entering into a transformative process. And that's what makes a good painting: the process of transforming and the willingness to leave reality behind.
– Susan Rothenberg
I think with art you have to do a bit of transforming of the subject to make the art worth having.
– Matthew Collings
It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing.
– Mark Rothko
It was as if he (Sigmar Polke) painted his imagery in a highly wrought way, instead of a calculatedly dumb way, or mechanical way, by silk-screening or by tracing from epidiascope projections, and so on.
– Matthew Collings
Most of my painting is done sitting in a chair with a book. I'd say it's 80 per cent sitting and reading, 10 per cent eating and ten per cent painting.
– Susan Rothenberg
No one ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and not the same person.
– Heraclitus
Once you had to be a genius to make works of art. Now you have to be a genius to understand them.
– Roy Emmins
One of the reasons James Joyce got totally dissatisfied with Catholicism and favored art as a new kind of religious focus was because art celebrated faults, whereas the religion went for purity.
– Gordon Burn
One pet peeve: many of the painters use photography as if it were a transparent source, ignoring the distancing it inherently entails.
– Julian Kreimer
Only when he or she no longer knows what he or she is doing does the painter do good things.
– Edgar Degas
PAINTING, n: The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the critic.
– Ambrose Bierce
Painting is a blind man's profession. He paints not what he sees, but what he feels, what he tells himself about what he has seen.
– Pablo Picasso
Painting is stronger than its subject matter and painting is its subject matter. Painting is an immense feeling which is why painting is scarce, because the immense feeling cannot be redeemed if people are no longer willing to risk despairing over the immense feeling. Painting is the most difficult thing to do.
– Karen Wright quoting Jean-Christoph Ammann
Painting is very easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do.
– Edgar Degas
Quid novi?
What's new?
*               *               *
That which is static and repetitive is boring. That which is dynamic and random is confusing. In between lies art.
– John A. Locke
The world must become romanticized, and in that way we find again its original meaning for us.
– Novalis
They promise innovative artists, but the choices made are politically correct and follow current international trends. The way in which the Palais de Tokyo tries to show that it is on the fringe is extremely caricatured. Thus, among the artists chosen are the essential ethnic minorities threatened by political conflicts. If you are sixteen or ninety-six-years-old, black, Jewish, homosexual and Afghani, then you have the ideal profile for exhibiting your work there!
– Françoise Monnin
To me, a painter, if not the most useful, is the least harmful member of our society.
– Man Ray
Unfashionability, of course, is now established as the quickest route to becoming the latest thing. 'You see so much modern art that looks like modern art,' Peter Doig once said.
– Gordon Burn
Until the late 1970s there'd either be only black or white in the paintings or if there were colours it would be a small amount, not a large area, and with the color separated from other colors by black or white (which is formula for Damien Hirst's successful dot paintings, incidentally).
– Matthew Collings
Vita brevis, ars longa. Hippocrates
Life is short, art endures.
*               *               *
Wake up Frieze readers, that stuff is done from photos! You're only emoting because a press release written by somebody who's incredibly shallow has told you to emote! Your swooning is just social climbing.
– Matthew Collings
We care too much about what happens to be there as a result of history. I worry even more that we care too much for the past and not enough for the present and the near present.
– Sir Nicholas Serota
We started with drawings, with kind of led us into conceptual things.
– Pamela Kramlich
When we invented cubism we had no idea we were inventing cubism.
– Pablo Picasso
Without rules you can't have anything, but you don't want to just be pedantic or obsessive. The painting is finished when it's working. The overall balance is right. Balance shouldn't be confused with design. There has to be restless jostle and aggression and a bit of dynamism, not just pat-ness or settled-ness or immediate pleasing-ness.
– Matthew Collings
You see, a document has use, whereas art is really useless. Therefore art is never a document, although it can adopt that style.
– Walker Evans
All rights are reserved by respective authors, 49 quotes © 2019

Misha Bittleston ¦ Ink Paintings  ¦ Tigers with Wings  ¦ Eight Two  ¦ Contact ¦ Terms & Conditions
Copyright © 1997-2019 Misha Bittleston. All rights reserved