FAMOUS ARTISTS QUOTES – from their TALKS & WRITINGS
on the creation of modern art + life history facts and biography
I hope you will enjoy the artist quotes.
If you do, please give us your LIKE on Facebook; editor Fons Heijnsbroek
QUOTES and COMMENTS of the FAMOUS ARTISTS & PAINTERS – a history of modern art by the artists
Collecting quotes of one particular artist gives a portray of the artist we will not find in art history books.
By their own quotes in talks, writings, letters, diary or interviews the famous artists and painters come to life directly. They speak or write to us from their own history and life. Their ideas, statements and life story information reveal us an animated modern art history, including references to art movements and styles – told in a personal way with an individual view.
Most selected famous artists quotes results from real life experiences in their efforts to create their personal way of modern art. Their quotes, including many biography history facts, give us a unique insight in the process of creation itself. And in the creation of modern art, including all the other artists round about in that time. All artists are part of the historical wave, some artists in and others outside the circles of the defined art movements! This very individual process is expressed in all the painter and sculptor quotes: their statements, hesitations, ideas, presumptions, private philosophy, thoughts or personal art concepts. The witnesses of the created history of modern art.
In the famous artist quotes from thier talks and writings we also meet their many private life memories or hidden notes in letters. Remarks on new explored techniques – or their failures or loved methods, all communicated in their talks, writings or letters. They tell us the artist’s individual characteristic way of observing life and his or her creation of modern art. In my view famous artists & painters of 19th & 20th century represent with their art quotes an essential part of modern Art History! This is my main reason to collect the famous artists and painters quotes and to present them to you on this website.
Why reading famous artists & painters quotes?
The ideas, experiences and thoughts of one particular artist give us a lot of information about his or her typical approach to create artworks in new visual FORMs. We are talking about the period of modern art, started with Impressionism / Realism of the mid-nineteenth century. In that period – in my view – the essence of making modern art is the transformation of a new mental image into a new visual Form. A new object we can see, touch, feel, hear! It is by our senses that an object of art starts to exist in our daily world. If that is really the case, then it is interesting to know, what were the covering thoughts and ideas of the artist.
What were the private and approaches in the head of the artist? Which enable him or her to materialize the still invisible imagination into new visual and perceivable material forms. Paintings, sculptures, graphic art, installations, performances ….! The famous artist quotes, in their writings and talks, give us answers and information! And even better when we can connect their remarks with the individual biography of an artist or with an art movement or style.
The invisible becomes visible because the modern artworks presents – by imagination transformed in material – a visual new form which we can experience in real life. Before this new form comes into existence there are a lot of things to be done. To create modern art is a hard job; it is hard work and it demands a lot of courage, independence thinking and some inspiration.
Art Concepts and writings by the famous painters & sculptors
Every famous painter or sculptor produces stories & thoughts on art. He or she will presume a lot by means of temporarily style comments or art concepts in the head – just for his or her very personal use. By writing down these floating inspirations and thoughts in letters, statements, notes and writings. Or perhaps by means of a poem like the Dada artist Kurt Schwitters and sculptor Hans Arp frequently did – often even together. Or by creating subtle mental monologues in a diary, or in letters – day by day, like the German woman painter Paula Modersohn-Becker did in her private notebooks. Or Marianne von Werefkin who created her personal imaginary lover, to discuss art with by writing him letters.
Other famous artists used vivid talks and debates, like the great German artist Joseph Beuys who loved to have frequently exchanges, talks or public interviews in front of the American public or art students. Well known are also the powerful and energetic exchanges by the great art debates in the American Abstract Expressionism movement, partly organized by the painter Robert Motherwell. They are still a very unique dynamic form of exchange in modern art story of 20th century where artists and art critics got both involved.
Every artist had to develop secret inner visual and mental thoughts. Information, ideas, presumptions, theories or temporarily concepts, because afterwards they can be verified some way or another in the very process of creation.
You will find on this website a large collection of all kinds of these artist ideas, comments, concepts by their life quotes and art statements. As you will see, artists are very often referring to other artists’ ideas or statements; they are all connected in this way, in the network of art.
All together the artist quotes and biography facts give us an unique insight and deep information from the heart of creation of art itself. Still in words – not yet materialized in physical and visual FORM – but they exist already in thoughts. they are expressing and exchanging ideas, as an important part of the production of modern art.
Famous Artists Quotes are art history information
The art quotes and biography facts of famous artists and painters represent in my view an essential part of world’s cultural heritage. They are part of modern art history itself. They establish a system or even better a network, full of art tracks for fellow artists and for modern art history teachers.
The same counts for the art lovers public – people who just love modern art and use it as their daily inspiration. The life quotes & art concepts of the artists – with their extended biography information and life story facts – are a gift of former great artists to the new coming generation, the still unknown artists, and the contemporary art in future as a whole. The quotes mean a precious part of modern human evolution.
I hope you will appreciate the job I did in recent years, searching in art-libraries and all kind of art books – reading, collecting and editing good and clarifying artists quotes and their life facts, taken from talks, letters, interviews, debates on art, etc… Please mail your remarks, comments or suggestions, to improve or extend this collection.
editor Fons Heijnsbroek
My start in collecting artist’s quotes and art history facts
It was around 2002 that for the first time I heard about Jacob Bendien, a Dutch artist living and working in Amsterdam who also reflected a lot on contemporary art history in Europe during his life. He died young from tuberculosis around 1933 in Amsterdam Jacob Bendien as a Dutch artist is not very well-known nowadays and even his work is rather unknown to most people, even in the Netherlands. We are happy that in coming years there will be an exhibition of Bendien’s art in the museum of Arnhem, the Netherlands.
I was then told that Jacob Bendien was very inspirational for contemporary artists and art critics around him as for instance the Dutch art critic Hammacher. At first I couldn’t believe this because the name of Jacob Bendien was so unfamiliar to me, being an artist myself, and also to the artists I knew in Amsterdam. Then I heard of a biography on the life of Hammacher, a famous Dutch art-critic, written by Peter de Ruiter (art history teacher in Groningen University – ten years he worked on it, a hell of a job!!) and I read this book. It taught me a lot about the artistic practice in the Netherlands before World War 2 and the decades after it. But most important: I read about Jacob Bendien and he was an inspirational figure indeed for many important Dutch artists and art critics. Bendien had a unbelievable clear view on his contemporary art and on the many art movements which developed since 1880 as for instance Futurism, Dada, Cubism, famous and important artists as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Piet Mondrian, Hans Arp, Kandinsky, etc. whom he liked to quote frequently in his later publications. Here was the birth of modern art, which started with Impressionism and Paul Cézanne and Bendien was a witness to all of this, a contemporary of the artists themselves!
Bendien’s view on the art history of modern art in 19th, 20th century
So Bendien lived and worked in Paris around 1913, as many young Dutch artists and Mondrian and Picasso did at that time.There Bendien saw early Cubism exhibited in the art galleries and discussed with fellow-artists about such subjects as ‘abstract’ art, which was rather modern in those days.
After reading Hammacher’s biography I started to read the only complete book Bendien wrote on the recent history modern art (published after his death): “Richtingen in de Hedendaagsche Schilderkunst”, (= “Trends in Contemporary Painting Arts”), W.L. & J. Brusse N.V. Rotterdam, The Netherlands, MCMXXXV (= 1935). The first thing that pleased me very much: Bendien offered a lot of artist’s quotes and life notes in his approach of explaining modern art history, completely integrated in his texts. Furthermore, he arranged his information on art and artists in a very clear and modern way, both connected as in a texture of mutual relations. He distinguished and compared all modern art history of movements and styles very vividly. I could notice clearly in his descriptions of the growing modern art movements and styles that Bendien was part of them, together with all the other artists. Now I realized very clearly that the artist in his or her work is first of all participating in life, real life.
Despite his firm arrangement of the material on the new arts and artists Bendien gave also a lot of fine texture between them. He was unbelievable keen on showing the interrelations between the art movements and illustrating these with quotes and facts. He quotes in his modern art history book all kinds of connections between the art movements and the artists who participated in them. SoCubism is debating with Futurism, and with Dada; Constructivism in its turn is in discussion with the artist painter Bendien himself, and with the subtle Suprematism artist Kazimir Malevich.
Bendien, himself an artist, was ‘discussing in pictures’ a lot with Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg (De Stijl), probably because they were very close to his own art conceptions, but at the same time very different because Bendien wanted to retain an emotionally recognizable figuration in his own drawings and paintings.
When Bendien got very weak because of tuberculosis during the last years of his short life, he stayed in Amsterdam and the people who took care of him brought new paintings of Mondrian fresh from Paris. Lying in his bed Bendien could study the still smelling oil paintings of Mondrian and noticed every subtle detail in them. He looked for hours on end! When people like art critic Hammacher came to visit him, Bendien taught his ‘pupils’ (several were art history teachers) how to study closely and carefully the paintings of Mondriaan and other artists. He inspired them how to look at the material, constructive, compositional and spiritual layers all as a whole. I am convinced that Bendien was the artist in the Netherlands those days who had the most complete understanding of Mondrian during his life. He even defended the painter Mondrian against the harsh and rude theorist Mondrian with his many ‘absolute’ theories and concepts. Bendien had a very independent opinion, so he also criticized the artist Mondrian and recognized very sharply the limitations and choices of Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg in the rather absolute abstract ‘Stijl’ Movement.
Bendien tought me how to discover good famous artist quotes
Bendien had a broad view on modern art history and the new art movements. He appreciated most of the art movements because of their typical character which he described by means of the many quotations from the new art movements in their manifests and written or spoken by the artists belonging to them. So I found the first important quotes but didn’t know I would start to collect them within a few years myself. What I gradually realized was that I wanted to share with others my experiences with Bendien; Bendien’s book was old but to me very inspirational in quotes and sayings. But no recent reprint of his book is available. So I decided to select typical quotes from his texts by which I wanted to portray every modern art movement. I already published them in Dutch on a new Dutch art website ‘DeKunsten’ (TheArts), which is used frequently by young students and teachers in art history. We have started to translate them in proper English, as you can see on this website in the right menu.
By selecting these artist quotes I realized how powerful and inspirational art quotes can be as a revelation and illustration of the roots of modern art history. One example; being an abstract painter myself, I was very touched by the way Kandinsky described in his famous biography-quote how he – already an experienced painter– discovered his first ‘abstract’ painting in his life when he came home one night in his own house. There he found one of his recent paintings standing on the floor, with its back to the wall, but upside down. So Kandinsky couldn’t recognize his own painting well because of the lack of light. But what he saw of the painting, he really loved it! With a shock he suddenly realized he saw an ‘Abstract’ painting, made by himself for the first time in his painter life. Kandinsky then understood he had hit upon something completely new. This quoted moment was an unbelievable inspiring moment in history of modern art, ‘just by an accident’.
I remember also the artist Calder, the inventor of ‘mobile sculptures’, who came to visit Mondrian in his atelier in Paris and suggested the painter to hang his paintings in the air, so they would function much better. Or take for example the quoted moment that the old painter Mondrian in New York saw the abstract early paintings of Lee Krasner and recognized in her an important abstract painter, as you can find in het woman artist quotes. Or take the American painter Willem de Kooning, working a whole year already to accomplish his first ‘Woman’ painting, but not being able to finish it definitely. Another astonishing moment in modern art history! There was Sapiro, the a famous art history teacher in New York, who suddenly decided to visit de Kooning’s studio. Nobody knows what the two were talking about, but one day later De Kooning declared ‘The woman’ painting for finished! Many more ‘Women’ followed soon. What were the two talking about, the art critic and the artist? Nobody knows, but it worked! The first and most famous ‘Woman’ painting in De Koonings life got ‘finished’ by just a talk, and its appearance resulted in an intensive and energetic art debate on abstract against representational painting among the artists of the New York School which would influence the course of modern art history for a few decades!. An art ‘talk’ can work out!
Art history in definitions and core quotes of the Modern art movements & Styles
On the website on the right side you will find a growing number of art movements & art styles described in facts and definitions. They are of course an essential part of the modern art history and had a large meaning as art circle and setting for all the individual artists.
A number of older European art movements, such as Cubism and Futurism are described in art quotes by Jacob Bendien, a Dutch artist living and working in the same period; he died young in 1934.
The history of the modern art movements after 1940 is described in quotes – selected by the contemporary Dutch artists Ben Vollers & Fons Heijnsbroek: Benfo-Dutch, and translated into English by Anne Porcelijn.
Reading about these modern art movements combines very well with the quotes of the famous artists and painters. For this reason you will find many links between the modern art movements and the quotes by artists. You can click onto these directly.