original oil paintings by south african artist

James A McNeill Whistler on Art and Painting

" As music is the poetry of sound, so is painting the poetry of sight, and the subject-matter has nothing to do with harmony of sound or of colour. "

" Art should be independent of all clap-trap - should stand alone, and appeal to the artistic sense of eye or ear, without confounding this with emotions entirely foreign to it, as devotion, pity, love, patriotism, and the like. All these have no kind of concern with it; and that is why I insist on calling my works 'arrangements' and 'harmonies'. "

" The imitator is a poor kind of creature. If the man who paints only a tree, or flower, or other surface he sees before him were an artist, the king of artists would be the photographer. It is for the artist to do something beyond this: in portrait painting to put on canvas canvas something more than the face the model wears for that one day; to paint the man, in short, as well as his features; arrangement of colours to treat a flower as his key, not his model."

" Nature contains the elements, in colour and form, of all pictures, as the keyboard contains the notes of all music."

" But the artist is born to pick, and choose, and group with science, these elements, that the result may be beautiful - as the musician gathers his notes, and forms his chords, until he brings forth from chaos glorious harmony."

" Nature is very rarely right, to such an extent even, that it might almost be said that nature is usually wrong; that is to say, the condition of things that shall bring about the perfection of harmony worthy a picture is rare, and not common at all. "

James A McNeill Whistler: Art and Effort

" A picture is finished when all trace of the means used to bring about the end has disappeared."

" To say of a picture, as is often said in its praise, that it shows great and earnest labour, is to say that it is incomplete and unfit for view. "

" The work of the master reeks not of the sweat of the brow - suggests no effort - and is finished from its beginning. "


Goldwater, R & Treves, M. 1976. Artists on Art, From the 14th to the 20th Century . John Murray.

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