FAMOUS ARTIST QUOTES on Art & Life – their stories and biography facts

Here you find selected quotes of many famous artists, with source. The quotes describe and clarify the personal way of creating modern art by the artist.
Moreover they tell a lot about the relations between the great painters and artists. Some created inside, others outside art movements or artists groups. But every artist was connected or inspired by others somehow! Their quotes & life stories learn us how! So, it becomes modern art history
Down here you find a small selection quotes, so you can try it out, for yourself. I hope, you enjoy! – editor Fons Heijnsbroek

short artist quote of Picasso, with a long tail

short artist quote by Picasso

Hans, Jean Arp

“I allow myself to be guided by the work which is in the process of being born. I do not think about it. The forms arrive pleasant, or strange..” artist quote, Hans, Jean Arp

Joseph Beuys

“If I produce something (in art), I transmit a message to someone else. The origin of the flow of information comes not from matter, but from the “I” ” – artist quote, Joseph Beuys, 1969

Georges Braque

“The only valid thing in art is that which cannot be explained… ..If there is no mystery than there is no ‘poetry’, the quality I value above all else in art.” – Georges Braque‘s artist quote on art, 1954

Andre Breton

“Beloved imagination, what I most like in you is your unsparing quality. There remains madness, ‘the madness that one locks up’, as it has aptly been described. That madness or another..” – artist quote, Andre Breton 1924

Paul Cezanne

“Color is the place where our brain and the universe meet. That’s why colour appears so entirely dramatic, to true painters. Look at mont Sainte-Victoire there! How it soars, how imperiously it thirsts for the sun… ” – great painter quote, Paul Cezanne, c. 1904

Giorgio de Chirico

“It is most important that we should rid art of all that it has contained of ‘recognizable material’ to date, all familiar subject matter.. ..More important still, we must hold enormous faith in ourselves.” – art quote, De Chirico, 1913

John Constable

“…The sky is the ‘source of light’ in nature, and governs every thing. Even our common observations on the weather of every day, are suggested by them, but it does not occur to us.” – great painter quote by John Constable c. 1821

Salvador Dali

“In 1951 the two most subversive things that could happen to an ex-surrealist were: firstly, to become a mystic and secondly, to know how to draw. These two models of rigour happened to me at the same time.” – quote of artist Salvador Dali, 1951

Edgar Degas

“I assure you, no art is less spontaneous than mine. What I do is the result of reflection and study of the Old Masters. I know nothing about inspiration, spontaneity, temperament.” – art quote by painter Edgar Degas, c. 1875

Eugene Delacroix

“I have started work on a modern subject, a scene on the barricades… …I may not have fought for my country but at least I shall have painted for her…” – Eugene Delacroix‘s life quote on his most famous painting, 1830

Marcel Duchamp

“Artists throughout the ages are like Monte Carlo gamblers and the blind lottery pulls some of them through and ruin others… …I do not believe in painting per se – A painting is made not by the artist but by those who look at it and grant it their favours. In other words, no painters knows himself or what he is doing” – artist quote, Marcel Duchamp, c. 1952

Vincent van Gogh

“I have tried to emphasize that those people, eating their potatoes in the lamplight, have dug the earth with those very hands they put in the dish, and si it speaks of ’manual labour’, and how they have honestly earned their food. I have wanted to give the impression of a way of life quite different from that of us civilized people.” – Vincent van Gogh‘s painter quote, c. 1885

Barbara Hepworth

“Before I start carving the idea must be almost complete. I say ‘almost’ because the really important thing seems to be the sculptor’s ability to let his intuition guide him over the gap between conception and realization without compromising the integrity of the original idea; the point being that the material has vitality – it resists and makes demands.” – Barbara Hepworth‘s artist quote, c. 1946

Edward Hopper

“Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world.. ..The inner life of a human being is a vast and varied realm.” – art quote of American painter Edward Hopper, 1953


“I painted these ‘Variations’ for some years and then I found it necessary to find form for the face, because I had come to understand that great art can only be painted with religious feeling. And that, I could only bring to the human face.” – famous biography story by painter Alexej Jawlensky, c. 1938


“There is no form, there is nothing in the world which says nothing. Often – it is true – the message does not reach our soul, either because it has no meaning in and for itself, or – as is more likely – because it has not been conveyed to the right place… …Every serious work rings inwardly, like the calm and dignified words: ‘Here I am!’” – painter quote of Kandinsky, on artistic life, 1911

Anselm Kiefer

“I am of the opinion that there are artists and non-artists. I think that this is the way it always was and always will be. I do not believe that we are in the center of the world. It is possible that there are gods who do not relate to human. As an artist, I believe that it is possible to depict these forces.” – Anselm Kiefer‘s quote on being an artist, c. 1989

Ernst Kirchner

“It seems as though the goal of my work has always been to dissolve myself completely into the sensations of the surroundings in order to then integrate this into a coherent painterly form.” – famous painter quote Ernst Kirchner, 1917

Paul Klee

“It is possible that a picture will move far away from Nature and yet find its way back to reality. The faculty of memory, experience at a distance produces pictorial associations.” – artist quote, Paul Klee, c. 1925

Yves Klein

“I had left the visible, physical blue at the door, outside, in the street. The real blue was inside, the blue of the profundity of space, the blue of my kingdom, of our kingdom!.. ..the immaterialisation of blue, the coloured space that can not be seen but which we impregnate ourselves with.” – artist quote, Yves Klein on his famous ‘Blue’, 1958

Roy Liechtenstein

“..my work is actually different from comic strips in that every mark is really in a different place, however slight the difference seems to some. The difference is often not great, but it is crucial.” – quote by famous Pop Art artist Roy Liechtenstein, 1963

Henri Matisse

“I want to reach the state of condensation of sensations which constitutes a picture. Perhaps I might be satisfied momentarily with a work finished at one sitting, but I would soon get bored looking at it; therefore, I prefer to continue working on it so that later I may recognize it as a work of my mind..” – painter quote by Henri Matisse, Paris 1908

Joan Miro

“Painting must be fertile. It must give birth to a world.. ..it must fertilize the imagination.” – Joan Miro‘s artist quote on art, c. 1959

Piet Mondrian

“What is natural does not have to be a representation of something. I’m now working on a thing that is a reconstruction of a starry sky, and yet I’m making it without a given from nature. Someone who says he uses a theme from nature can be right, but also someone who says he uses nothing at all.” – art quote, Piet Mondrian, 1919

Famous Artists Quotes on Art & Life – statements, ideas, concepts and life stories by the great painters + biography facts

Art quotes & life stories by the famous artists describe and explain a lot of the creation of modern art itself. The great painters statements, ideas, art concepts and life stories explain the hidden things and facts we cannot find in general art-history books. By their sourced quotes, taken from their talks, writings or letters – the famous artists speak to us directly, in their very own words. They talk or write about their personal artistic history and their private life experiences in creating modern painting – in or outside an existing art movement. Their quotes result in an art history, told in a very individual and personal biography story. This story about the evolution of modern art arouse from my individual point of view. It will reveal many unknown and meaningful quotes & art statements of the great modern artists and painters.


artist quote by Picasso



Every famous artist is basically drifting in a collective sea of memories of the huge history wave of the evolution of modern art. Some painters and sculptors create inside or strongly connected – other great artists do this outside the many groups, styles and art movements!
This very individual and necessary process of each artist we can trace and track by reading their statements and ideas. Their quotes reveal the swifts, moves, and sudden developments in their artistic growth. They show their personal hesitations, spontaneous concepts, struggled experiences, inspirations, secret biography and life stories and all kind of great artistic ideas they produced connected with their art. So we as readers can have a sense of wiring and tension-fields in which the artists create and life. Of course this is a question of individual powers, but on the other hand also connected, as their life quotes and biography memories show so clearly.



In the famous artist quotes & life stories we can read many personal life memories and experiences. They illustrate the artist’s characteristic connection between general modern art history and their personal life and biography facts; connected in the art they created. I am convinced that this very private and intimate connection represents an substantial part of modern Art History itself – for a large part well explained by the great painters and sculptors in their talks and writings! This meant for me as editor a very convincing personal statement, which encourage me to do this job, collecting and editing the growing amount of artist quotes here on the website. And subsequently sharing them (including the sources and great art books, I found them in). So everybody can learn them and connect things on modern art and its artists.



Famous Artists with their personal Stories?

The ideas, life experiences and concepts of one particular artist give us a lot of information about his or her characteristic approach to create indeed NEW visual forms. We are focusing now on the time of modern art, starting with Impressionism / Realism in the mid-19th century. In that typical art history period in my view – the essence of modern art started. Then started the transformation of mental ideas and presumptions into NEW visual reality. This resulted and still results now in a new Art object – we have to see and to experience in a new way!

It is by our very senses that an object of art starts to come in our daily life. Then it is interesting to know and to understand, what were the covering thoughts, ideas and art statements of this particular great artist? What were the personal art approaches, developed in his or her head? The selected artist quotes and statements express these personal art ideas which helped to materialize the still invisible imagination into real new forms and things. Ideas became famous (or unknown) paintings, sculptures, movies, graphic art, installations, performances, prints ….! The collected artist quotes, with their referred biography facts & personal writings & talks, give us perhaps a surrounding support to connect us with the art-thing itself.



The still invisible becomes visible because a modern artwork presents a new visual reality which we can experience as human being! But before this new form enters our personal life there are a lot of things to be done, by the artist. To create modern art is a real job. It means hard work and demands a lot of courage, independence thinking and some inspiration. ‘Famous and great’ is unsure for every painter or sculptor on the moment of creation itself. That will be decided by art history only!




do Famous Artists
Talk and write about their Art

Every great painter or sculptor had to produces personal stories & ideas on art. He or she presumed a lot in the mind, by means of temporarily art statements or concepts in the head – just for his or her personal use. By writing down these floating inspirations and thoughts in private notes, or letters, public great statements, and biography writings, they become living reality, and in the same time art history! It also happens by means of a poem like the famous Dada artist Kurt Schwitters and sculptor Hans Arp frequently created together. Or by creating subtle and quite monologues in a diary – day by day, like the German woman painter Paula Modersohn-Becker did in her private biography notebooks. The same did the Russian great Expressionist artist Marianne von Werefkin in Blaue Reiter / Blue Rider – she created even a personal imaginary lover, to discuss art with, by writing many letters to her great art-lover.


Other great artists had their famous art talks and debates, like the famous German Fluxus-artist Joseph Beuys who loved to have his frequently art-exchanges with the American public – in facts often the young students. Famous are the many art-debates in American Abstract Expressionism, where De Kooning, Rothko and other famous artist participated intensively. But also the debates and arguments in the heart of Dada, between the political and the non-political Dada artists. Just a few examples how artist quotes and statements came to life as expression of debating and art-exchanges.




Every serious artist develops at first secret inner visual statements and thoughts in their private biography box. We call it information, ideas, presumptions, theories or temporarily concepts. Only afterwards they can be verified some way or another, after the process of creation and by creation. That is a strange thing to realize. That the artwork means (or is in fact) the answer on many inner questions or hesitations by the artist and partly by the public.
You will find on this website large collections of these pre-existing ideas in the famous artist quotes and art statements – and only a few images of their definite answers by the art works. I sincerely hope this will not confuse too much. And one consolation might be: also the great artists are very frequently referring to other famous artists’ ideas or statements, because they needed a connection in this way, in the network of art and art history. For example the famous French painter Cezanne lights up in this way; many later artists refer to him and to his quotes and sayings. And perhaps because a young writer got then the foolish idea to follow and track daily that old grumpy but honest and ripe master-painter.




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.



can Artist Stories and Quotes
explain and clarify art history

Conclusion: the art quotes and their mentioned biography facts by the famous artists and painters represent in my view an essential part of world’s cultural heritage. They are in fact an essential part of modern art history itself, by witnessing the evolution of modern art. The told quotes establish a system or even better an art-network, full of tracks and signs for coming fellow artists, pupils, and even 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 statements of the great artists – with their extended biography information and life story facts – are a gift of the former great artists to the new coming generation, the still unknown artists, and the contemporary and future art as a whole. In this view I believe the famous artist quotes are to be seen as a precious part of modern human evolution itself – Fons Heijnsbroek.



artist quote of Edward Hopper



I hope you will enjoy these selected famous artist quotes; their art statements and life stories.

editor Fons Heijnsbroek



Art movements described in definitions and core art text-quotes by famous art-critics


On the website on the right you find art movements & art styles, described in facts and definitions. Art movements and artist groups were the historical nests for many great artists – to find warmth and art-company; to exchange and develop ideas and to struggle with other artists. The art movements 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 famous 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. I believe the great history of the modern art movements here described, form together a useful art resource and clarifying tutorial for pupils, students, art-lovers and teachers. That’s the reason why the text-quotes, explaining the history of the art movements are all sourced very well and combined with useful art links for further study and exploration of the art movement and its involved famous artists
The history of the modern art movements after 1940 is described in quotes, selected by Fons Heijnsbroek and translated into English by Anne Porcelijn.

The text-quotes on the modern art movements connect very well with the quotes and statements of the famous artists and painters. For this reason you will find many inter-links between the modern art movements and the great quotes by the artists. You can click onto these art-links in the text-lines directly.