Gustave Courbet on Art and Painting
" I have studied the art of the masters and the art of the moderns, avoiding any preconceived system and without prejudice. I have no more wanted to imitate the former than to copy the latter; nor have I thought of achieving the idle aim of art for art's sake. No! I have simply wanted to draw from a thorough knowledge of tradition the reasoned and free sense of my own individuality."
" To know in order to do: such has been my thought. To be able to translate the customs, ideas, and appearance of my time as I see them - in a word, to create a living art - this has been my aim."
Gustave Courbet: Painting Cannot be Taught
" I, who believe that every artist must be his own master, cannot think of becoming a teacher."
" I cannot teach my art, nor the art of any school, since I deny that art can be taught, or, in other words, maintain that art is completely individual, and that the talent of each artist is but the result of his own inspiration and his own study of past tradition. I add that, in my opinion, art or talent, for an artist, is merely a means of applying his personal faculties to the ideas and the things of the period in which he lives."
Gustave Courbet: Painting is Real, Concrete
" I hold also that painting is an essentially concrete art, and can consist only of the representation of things both real and existing. It is an altogether physical language, which, for its words, makes use of all visible objects. An abstract object, invisible or nonexistent, does not belong to the domain of painting."
" Imagination in art consists in finding the most complete expression for an existing thing, but never in imagining or creating this object itself."
" The beautiful is in nature, and it is encountered under the most diverse forms of reality. Once it is found it belongs to art, or rather to the artist who discovers it. Once the beautiful is real and visible it contains its artistic expression. He trifles with it at the risk of denaturing, and so weakening, it. Beauty as given by nature is superior to all the conventions of the artist."
" Beauty, like truth, is relative to the time when one lives and to the individual who can grasp it. The expression of beauty is in direct ratio to the power of conception the artist has acquired ...There can be no school; there are only painters."
Goldwater, R & Treves, M. 1976. Artists on Art, From the 14th to the 20th Century . John Murray.
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