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10 Best Quotes by Artists
Get inspired 06 Sep 2021

10 Best Quotes by Artists

starry night
Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night, 1889

Short sentences that stick with us, make us think and speak to us… quotes can have a profound impact. They have the potential to inspire, especially when they come from individuals we admire, whether they are artists, sportsmen, thinkers… We all have a saying that guides us, one that encourages and motivates when our morale is low. Discover the top 10 quotes by artists with Artsper.

1. “I wanted to transform it from an architectural object, an object of inspiration for artists, into an object of art. Let it become a sculpture, but ephemeral like my dream.” – Christo

Christo is an artist born in 1935 in Bulgaria. With his wife, Jeanne-Claude, he wrapped monuments in canvas, thus creating ephemeral and unique works of art. In this quote, Christo talks about one of his most famous works: the Pont Neuf in Paris. In 1985, he decided to wrap the bridge with 41 square meters of canvas. But the artist did not stop there, he has done the same in many other places. He had planned to wrap the Arc de Triomphe in April 2020 but unfortunately died in May 2020. The artwork was created in 2021 to pay tribute to Christo.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Pont Neuf
Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Pont Neuf, 1975-85

2. “What counts is not the image, it’s what you do with it” – JR

JR, whose real name is Jean René, is a contemporary artist. He started out on the streets of Paris as a street artist, then turned to photography, and finally became the creator of monumental works of art around the world. He has created many anamorphoses, for example the one at the Louvre or the optical illusion at the Eiffel Tower in 2020. Artsper has more information to discover about the artist in our article 10 things to know about JR.

JR, The Secret of the Great Pyramid, 2019

3. “My paintings are never what I expected, but I’m never surprised” – Andy Warhol

Andrew Warhola, better known as Andy Warhol, is a famous 20th century artist born in Pennsylvania. He was one of the pioneers of the Pop Art movement. Very famous for his cans and his portraits of Marylin Monroe, he was interested very early in the art world. He began being exhibited in a local restaurant and he had his first real exhibition in New York at the Hugo Gallery.  This avant-garde artist died in 1987 and continues to be a source of inspiration for many artists today. Artsper invites you to discover 10 things to know about Andy Warhol in this article. 

warhol beans
Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup Cans, 1962

4. “I never painted my dreams, I painted my own reality.” – Frida Kahlo

Many artists are inspired by their life experiences and memorialize their anecdotes in paintings. Frida Kahlo is the most famous female artist of the 20th century. Having had a rather eventful life, she began to paint after her first accident. After this first tragedy, many  family problems, love problems and others would follow suit. Frida represents in her artwork the experiences she endured throughout her life. She is a symbol of courage and the spokeswoman for women from her time. Discover 10 anecdotes about Frida Kahlo on the Artsper blog.

Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940
Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940

5. “I don’t think about working art when I work, I try to think about life.” – Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat is an American painter born in 1960. An avant-garde artist, he creates art that can be categorized as art brut. At the age of 7, he was hit by a car and had to undergo surgery. His mother gave him a book on medical anatomy, which later became the inspiration for his work. His career as an artist began as a graffiti artist with the pseudonym SAMO, the acronym for “Same Old Shit”. Eventually, he decided to use his real name and tag SAMO IS DEAD to indicate the end of this character. He began to exhibit his paintings in several galleries and his fame increased dramatically. His life ended in 1988 and he left behind many artworks. His crown will remain his symbol and continues to be a source of inspiration for other artists today.

12. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1981
Basquiat, Untitled, 1981

6. “I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh is one of the greatest painters in the history of art. He was born in 1853 in the Netherlands and is part of the naturalist movement. He moved to France where he began to paint and draw, and gradually these practices became a passion for him. In total, he painted more than 2,000 canvases during his career. In his work, he used the technique of pointillism, which became his trademark. Mentally unstable, he burnt himself, and cut off an ear as punishment for arguing with Gauguin and because he learnt that his brother is getting married. Vincent Van Gogh ended his life at the age of 37. Discover the 10 anecdotes about Vincent van Gogh in the Artsper blog. 

van gogh
Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait, 1889

7. “Painting is poetry that is seen instead of felt and poetry is a painting that is felt instead of seen.” – Leonardo da Vinci

The creator of the Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci is a 15th century Italian artist. This multi-talented man was a painter, architect, engineer and had a wide range of knowledge on countless subjects. A large part of his career was based on learning human anatomy which he used in his artworks. This Renaissance painter became world famous and his works were copied and parodied. He is a source of inspiration for many contemporary artists.

da vinci portrait
Leonardo da Vinci, Self Portrait, 1512

8. “I don’t paint what I see, I paint what I think.” – Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso was a 19th century Spanish painter and leader of the Cubist movement. He began painting at the age of 8, alongside his father.  In his works, he depicts geometric characters. In 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, he painted one of his most famous paintings: Guernica. This gigantic artwork measures 3.49 meters by 7.77 meters, has a political undertone, and quickly became known throughout the world. In total, he produced more than 50,000 works in various media during his life as an artist. Pablo Picasso died in 1973 but continued to live on through his works. Artsper tells you 10 anecdotes about Pablo Picasso in our blog!

Pablo Picasso, Man and Woman II, 1971, Available on Artsper

9. “What I love about photographs is that they capture a moment that is gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” – Karl Lagerfeld

The stylist, designer and photographer Karl Lagerfeld was born in 1933, known for his white hair and his black glasses, is an icon of art. Mainly involved in fashion, he had a remarkable career as a photographer. Before becoming a fashion designer, he drew and thanks to this passion, became an illustrator. His career began, and he quickly became one of the greatest designers in the world and inspired thousands of people. Although he passed away in 2019, he still inspires artists today and will remain an unforgettable artist.

Karl Lagerfeld, Getty Images

10. “Time runs and runs and only our death can catch up with it. Photography is a cutter that in eternity seizes the moment that dazzled him.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson is a famous twentieth century French photographer and designer. In his black and white photographs, he often depicts unusual moments of everyday life. He fought against fascism and for the independence of Indonesia with his wife Eli. In 1947, along with several other photographers such as Robert Capa, he created an agency: Magnum Photos. In 2014, the Pompidou Center exhibited his photographs in an extensive retrospective to pay tribute to his life and work.

henri cartier-bresson photo
Henri Cartier Bresson, Behind the Gare St. Lazare, 1932

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