500+ Sourced quotes
The violent quarrel between the abstractionists [like Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson, both English sculptors] and the surrealists seems to me quite unnecessary. 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. And I think the first inception of a painting or a sculpture may begin from either end.
This exchange – mainly in the form of letters [between the brothers van Gogh] – was not only about painting and art, but covered everything to do with one's existence and the philosophical or religious colouring, in a word: for the reader of the letters written by Vincent to his brother a total of human behaviour is revealed that of the dual being of van Gogh. This is how my first wish and then obsession was started, to build a monument for the two van Gogh brothers.
It is by deciding what is real for him and portraying it convincingly that the painter serves the true ends of art. The question of social reality does not arise on this profoundly personal level. On the other hand the question of personal salvation and our relationship to God does. Art, if it is successful in the task of questioning reality, if it is good painting and not merely a performance of dexterity, will be an affirmation of God.
Was it the culmination of a process of fatigue brought about by the proliferation of an easy tachism in the world? A reaction to escape anarchic informalism? An attempt to flee abstract excess and the urge for something more concrete? Did I see the possibility to reach even more primordial levels, the most extremely pure elements, the most essential elements of painting that the masters from the preceding generation had stimulated me to seek?
I am in a very black mood and profoundly disgusted with painting. It really is a continual torture! Don't expect to see anything new, the little I did manage to do has been destroyed, scraped off, or torn up. You've no idea what appalling weather we've had continuously these two past months. When you're trying to convey the weather, the atmosphere and the general mood, it's enough to make you mad with rage.
As for 'taste' as a criterion of painting I find that it is most frequently applied to work that is essentially insensitive, brutal or vulgar beyond question. Could it now be a term with political undertones to seduce, or cover profounder motives of exploitation? I propose it be kept to the wine cellar. There it deceives no one but him who over-indulges.
They [French critics of the Paris Salon of 1824, where his painting 'the Hay Wain' received a gold medal] are very amusing and acute — but very shallow and feeble. Thus one — after saying: "'it is but justice to admire the truth — 'the color' — and 'general vivacity' & richness —" – yet they want the objects more formed and defined &c, and say they are like the rich preludes in musick, and the full harmonious warblings of the Aeolian lyre, which means 'nothing,' and they call them orations — and harangues — and high-flown conversations affecting a careless ease — &c &v &c - Is not some of this 'blame' the highest 'praise' – what is poetry? – What is Coleridge's Ancient Mariner (the very best modern poem) but something like this?
At one point Trudeau mentioned to me that the National Gallery wanted to buy a masterpiece by the great Italian painter Lotto, and it needed a million dollars from the Treasury Board. "Is that Lotto-Quebec or Lotto-Canada?" I joked, but I got the message, and the National Gallery got the painting.
If there were only some mechanism (like Seurat's proposed system of painting, or the projected Universal Algebra that Gödel believes Leibnitz to have perfected and mislaid) for reasonably and systematically converting into poetry what we see and feel and are! When one reads the verse of people who cannot write poems — people who sometimes have more intelligence, sensibility, and moral discrimination than most of the poets — it is hard not to regard the Muse as a sort of fairy godmother who says to the poet, after her colleagues have showered on him the most disconcerting and ambiguous gifts, "Well, never mind. You're still the only one that can write poetry."
Music combines the temporal aspects of film and dance with the spatial aspects of painting and sculpture, where pitch space (or frequency space) takes the place of three-dimensional physical space... frequency maps in the auditory cortex... function much the way that spatial maps do in the visual cortex.
I have made the complete return [from imagination] to nature, and nature is, as we all know, primarily an intellectual idea. I am satisfied that painting also is like nature, an intellectual idea, and that the laws of nature as presented to the mind through the eye and the eye is the painter's first and last vehicle are the means of transport to the real mode of thought: the only legitimate source of aesthetic experience for the intelligent painter.