"To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees." (Paul Valery)
Do not copy much from nature. Art is an abstraction; extract it from nature while dreaming in front of it and pay more attention to the act of creation than to the result...I'm making good progress with my latest works, and I think you will find in them...the affirmation of my earlier attempts at synthesizing form and color, without either being dominant.
Paul Gauguin, Pont-Aven, August 1888
Whereas de Kooning's renunciation of abstract art ran counter to the advanced thinking of his time, his rejection of Matisse's ideal of aesthetic pleasure marked a reversal of his own youthful enthusiasms. It was the art of Henri Matisse that had first sparked de Kooning's interest in modern painting, when, as a newly arrived immigrant, he encountered the French painter's work in a Manhattan gallery. In the ensuing years, de Kooning came to realize that the social utility of such pleasurable art actually constrained the artist. His experiences had taught him otherwise. He determined to place his trust in what he called 'the freedom of indifference'. By this he meant that lack of patronage and social support actually freed modern artists to work for themselves alone.
from A Way of Living, the Art of de Kooning by Judith Zilczer
When people asked him afterwards about this rupture, and what lay behind it, the answer tended to be vague or metaphorical..."It was a seed," said Matisse, who was not for nothing a seed-merchant's son. "It had to grow, to put out a shoot. Before, nothing interested me. Afterwards, I had nothing in my head but painting."
(excerpt from The Unknown Mattise by author HIlary Spurling)
"Our job is to be an artist, which is to be a poet...we must teach ourselves to see the beauty of the commonplace. It is so much greater to make much out of little than to make little out of much."
- Charles Hawthorne
"Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, the most important representative of official nineteenth-century French art and a protégé of Napoleon I, continued painting in the style of his teacher and developed it further. He had no misgivings about deforming bodies in order to sustain the beauty of the line: for example, the back of his famous Odalisque is unnaturally lengthened."
Impressionism: 50 Paintings You Should Know. Presstel.com, 2007