Robert Henri


American Painter and Teacher

Author Quotes

All things change according to the state we are in. Nothing is fixed.

Be game--take a chance--don't hide behind veils and veils of discretion... Go forward with what you have to say, expressing things as you see them. You are new evidence, fresh and young. Your work, the spirit of youth, you are the progress of human evolution. If age dulls you it will be time enough then to be ponderous and heavy--or quit. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to be young, to continue growing--not to settle and accept.

Don't worry about your originality. You couldn't get rid of it even if you wanted to. It will stick with you and show up for better or worse in spite of all you or anyone else can do.

I paint for the sole purpose of magnifying the privilege of being alive.

It beats all the things that wealth can give and everything else in the world to say the things one believes, to put them into form, to pass them on to anyone who may care to take them up.

Paint like a fiend when the idea possesses you.

The good thing about painting from memory is that so much is forgotten.

The world will see many fashions of art and most of the world will follow the fashions and make none. These cults - these 'movements' - are absolutely necessary, or at any rate their causes are, for somewhere in their centres are the ones who bear the Idea, the ones who have questioned, 'But what do I think?' and 'How shall I say it best?'

To be free, to be happy and to be fruitful, can only be attained through sacrifice of many common but overestimated things.

You will never find yourself unless you quit preconceiving what you will be when you have found yourself.

A common defect of modern art study is that too many students do not know why they draw.

An artist must first of all respond to his subject, he must be filled with emotion toward that subject and then he must make his technique so sincere, so translucent that it may be forgotten, the value of the subject shining through it.

Be venturesome. Try new things that appeal to you. Examine others. Have a pioneer spirit. Prevent your drawing from being common. Put life into it.

Drawing is not following a line on the model, it is drawing your sense of the thing.

If a certain activity, such as painting, becomes the habitual mode of expression, it may follow that taking up the painting materials and beginning work with them will act suggestively and so presently evoke a flight into the higher state.

It is a creation of your own mind, not the model. The model is dependent on your idea of her. Your canvas should be a thing created under the influence of her.

Paint what you feel. Paint what you see. Paint what is real to you.

The man who has honesty, integrity, the love of inquiry, the desire to see beyond, is ready to appreciate good art. He needs no one to give him an 'Art Education'; he is already qualified. He needs but to see pictures with his active mind, look into them for the things that belong to him, and he will find soon enough in himself an art connoisseur and an art lover of the first order.

There are forms that can only be seen when you are near a painting, others only appear when you are far away.

To paint is to know how to put nothing on canvas, and have it look like something when you stand back.

Your only hope of satisfying others is in satisfying yourself. I speak of a great satisfaction, not a commercial satisfaction.

A Curve does not exist in its full power until contrasted with a straight line.

An artist must have imagination. An artist who does not use his imagination is a mechanic.

Beauty is an intangible thing; can not be fixed on the surface, and the wear and tear of old age on the body cannot defeat it. Nor will a pretty face make it, for pretty faces are often dull and empty, and beauty is never dull and it fills all spaces.

Each man must seek for himself the people who hold the essential beauty, and each man must eventually say to himself as I do, 'these are my people and all that I have I owe to them.

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American Painter and Teacher