OBSERVATIONS

The entire concern of any genuine artistic discipline must be the elucidation of that which cannot be spoken about or understood with the reasoning intelligence.

If my paintings fail to reflect accurately what I see, then no statement of mine can redeem them.

The following remarks clarify, with a finer eloquence than I possess, my very personal understanding of both painting…and that strange quality inherent in the life which is dedicated to this pursuit.

They need to be read thoughtfully if any profit is to be gained from their perusal.

These remarkable individuals have supported me…and speak for me.

Margaret Sparrow

GUSTAVE FLAUBERT

"Do you know what is most intimate, most hidden, in my heart, and what is most authentically myself ? Two or three modest ideas about art, lovingly brooded over."

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"Every beautiful thought has a beautiful form, and vice versa. In the world of Art, beauty is a by-product of form, just as in our world temptation is a by-product of love."

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"We must be on our guard against that feverish state called inspiration, which is often a matter of nerves…. Everything should be done coldly, with poise."

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" 'To be known' is not my chief concern: That can give complete gratification only to mediocre vanities…. I am aiming at something better : to please myself…. In the meantime I do not wish to fleece the public. That's all there is to it."

PAUL VALÉRY

"We have developed a curious habit of supposing that any artist who fails to begin by shocking…must be third-rate…this seems to involve a dangerous facility, and I feel that the idea of art is more and more divorced from that of the highest development of one human being, and, through him, of a few others."

MARCEL PROUST

"The truth is that as soon as the reasoning intelligence takes upon itself to judge works of art, nothing is any longer fixed or certain: you can prove anything you wish to prove."

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"A work in which there are theories is like an object which still has the ticket that shows its price…. Authentic art has no use for proclamations of this kind, it accomplishes its work in silence. "

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"…at every moment the artist has to listen to his instinct, and it is this that makes art the most real of all things, the most austere school of life, the true last judgment."

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"Only the impression…is a criterion of truth, and deserves for that reason to be apprehended by the mind…. The book whose hieroglyphs are not patterns traced by us, is the only book that really belongs to us…."

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"…color for the painter, is a question not of technique but of vision: it is the revelation, which by direct and conscious methods would be impossible, of the qualitative difference, the uniqueness of fashion in which the world appears to each one of us…worlds which, centuries after the extinction of the fire from which their light first emanated, be that fire called Rembrandt or Vermeer, send us still each one its special radiance."

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"Each artist seems thus to be the native of an unknown country, which he himself has forgotten…."

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"I had arrived then at the conclusion that in fashioning a work of art we are by no means free, that we do not choose how we shall make it but that it is pre-existent to us and therefore we are obliged, since it is both necessary and hidden, to do what we should have to do if it were a law of nature, that is to say to discover it…."

BASHO

"To learn about the pine, go to the pine. To learn about the bamboo, go to the bamboo. But this learn is not just what you think learn is. You only learn by becoming totally absorbed in that which you wish to learn. There are many people who think that they have learned something and willfully construct a poem which is artifice and does not flow from their delicate entrance into the life of another object."

PAUL CÉZANNE

"The manner in which a work of art is rendered, allows us to judge the distinction of the artist's mind and insight…. The quest for novelty and originality is an artificial need which can never disguise banality and the absence of artistic temperament."

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"The artist must avoid literature in art…which so often distracts a painter from his true goal, the direct study of nature, and causes him to waste his time in intangible theories."

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"Either you see a picture immediately, or you never see it at all. Explanations don't help a bit. What good does it do to comment on it? All those things are imperfect, imprecise things. We talk as we do because it's amusing, like drinking a good bottle of wine."

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"People think a sugar bowl has no physiognomy or soul. But that changes every day here…. Objects penetrate one another. They never cease to be alive. They spread themselves out imperceptibly among themselves by intimate reflections, as we do with our gazes and our words…. Why do we divide the world ? There are days when it seems to me that the universe is no more than one flow, an airborne river of reflections…the celestial geography of the great eternal white…the zones of God."

"To see the work of God: that's what I try to do."

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"I owe you the truth in painting and I shall give it to you."

HENRI MATISSE

"Slowly I discovered the secret of my art. It consists of a meditation on nature…. If Cézanne is right, I am right."

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"Spontaneity is not what I am looking for…when one expresses a feeling, it is nothing as long as one has not found its perfect form…. There is an inherent truth which must be disengaged from the outward appearance of the object to be represented. This is the only truth that matters."

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"We shouldn't be surprised that C├ęzanne hesitated so long and so constantly. For my part, each time I stand before my canvas, it seems that I am painting for the first time."

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"We are born with the sensibility of a given period of civilization…. One can't just do anything. A talented artist cannot do just as he likes…. We are not the masters of what we produce. It is imposed on us."

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"To sum up, I work without a theory. I am conscious only of the forces I use, and I am driven on by an idea which I really only grasp as it grows with the picture… the painting is not a mirror reflecting what I experienced while creating it, but a powerful object, strong and expressive, which is as novel for me as for anyone else."

GIORGIO MORANDI

"There is nothing more abstract than reality."

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"I realized that the new aesthetic ideas were even less in keeping with my needs than the old ones. I felt that only an understanding of the most vital achievements in painting over the past centuries could help me find my way…they were above all beneficial because they made me aware how much sincerity and simplicity was involved in the work of the old masters, which takes reality as its constant source of inspiration and is deeply enchanting for this reason. From the earliest to the most modern, the artists keeping faith with these principles have always produced works imbued with life and poetry."

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"Nothing is more alien to me than an art that sets out to serve other purposes than those implied in the work of art itself."

MARK ROTHKO

"I am not an abstractionist, I have never lost the sense for concreteness. That is why I do not understand an aesthetic built on the perception of relationships. The image for me must always be concrete and understandable in terms of real life."

HENRY W. LONGFELLOW

"In the elder days of Art,
Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part;
For the Gods see everywhere."