400+ Sourced quotes
Like music, [painting] acts on the soul through the intermediary of the senses, the harmonious tones corresponding to the harmonies of sounds, but in painting, a unity is obtained which is not possible in music, where the accords follow one another, and the judgement experiences a continuous fatigue if one wants to reunite the end and the beginning. In the main, the ear is an inferior sense to the eye. The hearing can only grasp a single sound at one time, whereas the sight takes in everything and at the same time simplifies at its will.
It is true – is it not – that even Ingres [French classical painter, famous for his line] had to revise – yes, the surface of the painting is smooth, finished and incorruptible as a diamond, but under the accomplished surface are pentimenti – see there at the shoulder, how the line of the black dress was lowered qua fraction and the hand was extended to give greater elegance... Are these not signs of the patient revision that even a genius has to make.
I am biased towards the belief that every painter must be grounded in strong and faultless drawing skills, and until one has not experimented with all styles of painting and has not comprehended their potentialities one's work is not complete. Even an abstract painter must know how to draw as well as a figurative artist. As for me, drawing has never created any problem, since I know how to draw anatomy correctly if I had to, I understand the function of muscle groups and sculpture.
I admit I know little of Orient art. But that is because I cannot find in it what I am looking for, or what I am talking about. To me the Oriental idea of beauty is that 'it isn't there'. It is in a state of nor being there. It is absent. That is why it is so good. It is the same thing I don't like in Suprematism, Purism and non-objectivity... I do like the idea that they - the 'pots and pans' [pictured in the classic still life paintings], I mean – are always in relation to man. They have no soul of their own, like they seem to have in the Orient..
I met Beckett at my brother's (Geert van Velde, also an abstract painter) place. That was a Big meeting [circa 1938, in Paris], in capital letters. It was before war started, life was still normal. That time I was very lonely. We saw each other often. Before the war he had published already something, but his fame came in 1953. We never spoke about his work. He was a taciturn man. Sometimes a word escaped from his mouth. Sure, a word you would never forget. It would stick in your head... This friendship with Beckett is the most important experience in my life. He was fully alive for my way of working. What he could express in words, I did with my paintings.
The artist's feeling is his law. Genuine feeling can never be contrary to nature; it is always in harmony with her. But another person's feelings should never be imposed on us as law. Spiritual affinity leads to similarity in work, but such affinity is something entirely different from mimicry. Whatever people may say of Y's paintings and how they often resemble Z's, yet they proceed from Y and are his sole property.
I never did a western while at Universal. I did a variety of roles, including 'The Climax' with Boris Karloff. There is a huge painting of me in the film. When it was over, Ernest Pagano, one of the producers, put it up in his office. It took up most of the wall! I wasn't happy because people thought we were having an affair—which I never have and never would do.