"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."
"Just as a chemist "isolates" a substance from contaminations that distort his view of its nature and effects, so the work of art purifies significant appearance. It presents abstract themes in their generality, but not reduced to diagrams."
"How often people speak of art and science as though they were two entirely different things, with no interconnection. An artist isemotional, they think, and uses only his intuition; he sees all at once and has no need of reason. A scientist is cold, they think, and uses only his reason; he argues carefully step by step, and needs no imagination. That is all wrong. The true artist is quite rational as well as imaginative and knows what he is doing; if he does not, his art suffers. The true scientist is quite imaginative as well as rational, and sometimes leaps to solutions where reason can follow only slowly; if he does not, his science suffers."
"If you have ever watched an artist constructing with bits of cold stone a beautiful living picture you know that he works faithfully and carefully on the pattern from the wrong side and while he is working every inequality, every tint a little too dull is apparent to him as his picture grows, but he works on and on. And even when he finishes at last and looks down at the completed pattern he is not discouraged to see here a little crevice and there a little roughness, an open seam here, a tiny patch there where the bit of marble was too small. Now he pours his cement over it and smoothes [sic] it into every seam, and with faith puts his work to dry. Next day the pattern is turned and the perfect whole is given to view, needing only the polishing of a loving hand to make it ready to slip in place. So we should work faithfully on our pattern, cement it together with ourselves, and polish it with human kindness; and lo! the work slips into place seemingly a perfect whole."
"Dead power is everywhere among us--in the forest, chopping down the songs; at night in the industrial landscape, wasting and stiffening the new life; in the streets of the city, throwing away the day. We wanted something different for our people: not to find ourselves an old, reactionary republic, full of ghost-fears, the fears of death and the fears of birth. We want something else."
"Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom, in the pursuit of truth as in the endeavour after a worthy manner of life."