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James Whistler Quotes



Quotes by James Whistler - (37 quotes)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Application category:

Paint should not be applied thick. It should be like a breath on the surface of a pane of glass. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Appreciation category:

Listen! There was never an artistic period. There was never an art-loving nation. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Art category:

Art happens – no hovel is safe from it, no prince can depend on it, the vastest intelligence cannot bring it about. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Art category:

Art is a goddess of dainty thought, reticent of habit, abjuring all obtrusiveness, purposing in no way to better others. She is, withal selfishly occupied with her own perfection only - having no desire to teach. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Colour category:

Truly color is vice! Of course, it can be, and has the right to be one of the finest virtues. Controlled by the strong hand and careful guidance of her Master drawing, color is a splendid Mistress, with a mate worthy of herself, her lover, but her Master likewise, the most magnificent Mistress possible, and the result is evident in all the glorious things that spring from their union. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Colour category:

Mauve? Mauve is just pink trying to be purple. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Colour category:

-to his students on colour...
Someday we shall control the full orchestra. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Criticism category:

To say of a picture, as is often said in its praise, that it shows great and earnest labour is to say that it is incomplete and unfit for view. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Criticism category:

Over and over again did the Attorney-General cry out aloud, in the agony of his cause, 'What is to become of painting if the critics withhold their lash?' (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Criticism category:

Frederic Leighton to James McNeill Whistler: 'My dear Whistler, you leave your pictures in such a sketchy, unfinished state. Why don't you ever finish them?' James McNeill Whistler to Frederic Leighton: 'My dear Leighton, why do you ever begin yours?' (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Critics category:

Shall the painter then... decide upon painting? Shall he be the sole critic and authority? (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Critics category:

- Whistler v. Ruskin: Art & Art Critics, 1878...
Two and two continue to make four, in spite of the whine of the amateur for three, or the cry of the critic for five. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Disappointment category:

One cannot continually disappoint a Continent. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Ego category:

As far as painting is concerned there is only Degas and myself. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Ego category:

- Whistler Stories by D.C. Seitz, 1913...
'I know of only two painters in the world,' said a newly introduced feminine enthusiast to Whistler, 'yourself and Velasquez.' 'Why,' answered Whistler in dulcet tones, 'why drag in Velasquez?' (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Emotion category:

Art should be independent of all clap-trap - should stand alone, and appeal to the artistic sense of eye or ear, without confounding this with emotions entirely foreign to it, as devotion, pity, love, patriotism and the like. All these have no kind of concern with it; and that is why I insist on calling my works 'arrangements' and 'harmonies.' (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Fame category:

- to Leyland regarding improvements...
Ah, I have made you famous. My work will live when you are forgotten. Still, per chance, in the dim ages to come you will be remembered as the proprietor of the Peacock Room. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Finishing category:

A picture is finished when all trace of the means used to bring about the end has disappeared. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Harmony category:

Nature contains the elements, in colour and form, of all pictures, as the keyboard contains the notes of all music. But the artist is born to pick and choose... that the result may be beautiful – as the musician gathers his notes, and forms his chords, until he brings forth from chaos glorious harmony... (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Imitation category:

The imitator is a poor kind of creature. If the man who paints only the tree, or flower, or other surface he sees before him were an artist, the king of artists would be the photographer. It is for the artist to do something beyond this. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Joy category:

For art and joy go together, with bold openness, and high head, and ready hand – fearing naught and dreading no exposure. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Light category:

As light fades and the shadows deepen, all petty and exacting details vanish, everything trivial disappears, and I see things as they are in great strong masses: the buttons are lost, but the sitter remains; the sitter is lost, but the shadow remains; the shadow is lost, but the picture remains. And that, night cannot efface from the painter's imagination. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Limitations category:

Art is limited to the infinite, and beginning there cannot progress. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Masters category:

The masterpiece should appear as the flower to the painter - perfect in its bud as in its bloom - with no reason to explain its presence - no mission to fulfill - a joy to the artist, a delusion to the philanthropist - a puzzle to the botanist - an accident of sentiment and alliteration to the literary man. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Nature category:

Nature is very rarely right, to such an extent even, that it might almost be said that nature is usually wrong... (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Nature category:

To say to the painter that Nature is to be taken as she is, is to say to the player that he may sit on the piano. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Poetry category:

As music is the poetry of sound, so is painting the poetry of sight and the subject-matter has nothing to do with harmony of sound or of colour. The great musicians knew this. Beethoven and the rest wrote music – simply music; symphony in this key, concerto or sonata in that... (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Portraiture category:

To me it is interesting as a picture of my mother; but what can or ought the public to care about the identity of the portrait? (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Portraiture category:

I remember that at one time I always made a drawing before going to bed!! – Of myself I mean – though I finally destroyed most of them. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Portraiture category:

-to a sitter's complaint that his portrait was not a great work of art...
Perhaps not, but then you can't call yourself a great work of nature. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Portraiture category:

It is for the artist... in portrait painting to put on canvas something more than the face the model wears for that one day; to paint the man, in short, as well as his features. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Quality category:

Industry in art is a necessity - not a virtue - and any evidence of the same, in the production, is a blemish, not a quality; a proof, not of achievement, but of absolutely insufficient work, for work alone will efface the footsteps of work. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Seeing category:

A student of James McNeill Whistler tells the great artist, 'I tend to paint what I see.' Whistler replies, 'Ah! The shock will come when you see what you paint!' (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Selling category:

John Ruskin: "The labour of two days is that for which you ask two hundred guineas?" Whistler: "No. I ask it for the knowledge I have gained in the work of a lifetime." (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Taste category:

You shouldn't say it is not good. You should say you do not like it; and then, you know, you're perfectly safe. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Vision category:

An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)

James Abbott McNeill Whistler - From the Work category:

The work of a master reeks not of the sweat of the brow - suggests no effort - and is finished from its beginning. (James Abbott McNeill Whistler)