"The man who, from the beginning of his life, has been bathed at length in the soft atmosphere of a woman, in the smell of her hands, of her bosom, of her knees, of her hair, of her supple and floating clothes, ... has contracted from this contact a tender skin and a distinct accent, a kind of androgyny without which the harshest and most masculine genius remains, as far as perfection in art is concerned, an incomplete being."
"Often, while contemplating works of art, not in their easily perceptible materiality, in the too-clear hieroglyphs of their contours or the obvious meaning of their subject, but in the soul with which they are endowed, in the atmospheric impression that they convey, in the spiritual light or darkness which they pour into our souls, I have felt entering into me a kind of vision of the childhood of their creators. Some little sorrow, some small pleasure of the child, inordinately inflated by an exquisite sensibility, become later on in the adult man, even without his knowing it, the basis of a work of art.... Genius is nothing but childhood clearly formulated, newly endowed with virile and powerful means of self-expression."
"Drawing is a struggle between nature and the artist, in which the better the artist understands the intentions of nature, the moreeasily he will triumph over it. For him it is not a question of copying, but of interpreting in a simpler and more luminous language."
"A good performance, like a human life, is a temporal affair--a process in time. It is good as a whole through being good in its parts, and through their good order to one another. It cannot be called good as a whole until it is finished. During the process all we can say of it, if we speak precisely, is that it is becoming good. The same is true of a whole human life. Just as the whole performance never exists at any one time, but is a process of becoming, so a human life is also a performance in time and a process of becoming. And just as the goodness that attaches to the performance as a whole does not attach to any of its parts, so the goodness of a human life as a whole belongs to it alone, and not to any of its parts or phases."
"Twentieth-century art may start with nothing, but it flourishes by virtue of its belief in itself, in the possibility of control over what seems essentially uncontrollable, in the coherence of the inchoate, and in its ability to create its own values."
"I have always suspected that too much knowledge is a dangerous thing. It is a boon to people who don't have deep feelings; their pleasure comes from what they know about things, and their pride from showing off what they know. But this only emphasizes the difference between the artist and the scholar."
"I have always rebelled against the unadorned, the unbefitting, the unawakened, the unresisting, the undesirable, the unplanned, the unshapely, the uncommitted, the unattempted--all leading to the unintended. I believe in the unsubmissive, the unfaltering, the unassailable, the irresistible, the unbelievable--in other words, in an art of life."
"Without poets, without artists, men would soon weary of nature's monotony. The sublime idea men have of the universe would collapse with dizzying speed. The order which we find in nature, and which is only an effect of art, would at once vanish. Everything would break up in chaos. There would be no seasons, no civilization, no thought, no humanity; even life would give way, and the impotent void would reign everywhere."
"... we have almost succeeded in leveling all human activities to the common denominator of securing the necessities of life and providing for their bundance. Whatever we do, we are supposed to do for the sake of "making a living;" such is the verdict of society, and the number of people, especially in the professions who might challenge it, has decreased rapidly. The only exception society is willing to grant is to the artist, who, strictly speaking, is the only "worker" left in a laboring society."
"Art is identical with a state of capacity to make, involving a true course of reasoning. All art is concerned with coming into being ... for art is concerned neither with things that are, or come into being, by necessity, nor with things that do so in accordance with nature."