Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

James Abbott McNeill Whistler

American-born British-based Artist

"Art happens - no hovel is safe from it, no prince can depend on it, the vastest intelligence cannot bring it about."

"You shouldn't say it is not good. You should say, you do not like it; and then, you know, you're perfectly safe."

"Listen! There was never an artistic period. There was never an art-loving nation."

"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. "

"As light fades and the shadows deepen, all petty and exacting details vanish, everything trivial disappears, and I see things as they are in great strong masses: the buttons are lost, but the sitter remains; the sitter is lost, but the shadow remains; the shadow is lost, but the picture remains. And that, night cannot efface from the painter's imagination. "

"An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision."

"If familiarity can breed contempt, certainly Art–or what is currently taken for it–has been brought to its lowest stage of intimacy. The people have been harassed with Art in every guise, and vexed with many methods as to its endurance. They have been told how they shall love Art, and live with it. Their homes have been invaded, their walls covered with paper, their very dress taken to task–until, roused at last, bewildered and filled with the doubts and discomforts of senseless suggestion, they resent such intrustion, and cast forth the false prophets, who have brought the very name of the beautiful into disrepute, and derision upon themselves."