Read how to open files in File Open Database.

edgar degas Quotes

Edgar Degas Quotes

Birth Date: 1834-07-19 (Saturday, July 19th, 1834)
Date of Death: 1917-09-27 (Thursday, September 27th, 1917)



    • Boredom soon overcomes me when I am contemplating nature.
    • J'ai vraiment, un vrai bagage dans la tete. S'il y avait pour cela, comme il y a partout ici, des compagnies d'assurance, voila un ballot je ferais assurer de suite.
    • Your pictures would have been finished a long time ago if I were not forced every day to do something to earn money.
    • I assure you no art was ever less spontaneous than mine. What I do is the result of reflection and study of the great masters; of inspiration, spontaneity, temperament - temperament is the word - I know nothing.
    • A vous il faut la vie naturelle, a moi la vie factice.
    • Hitherto the nude has always been represented in poses which presuppose an audience; but these women of mine are honest, simple folk, unconcerned by any other interests than those involved in their physical condition. Here is another; she is washing her feet. It is as if you looked through a key-hole.
    • What a delightful thing is the conversation of specialists! One understands absolutely nothing and it's charming.
    • Comme nous avons mal fait de nous laisser appeler Impressionistes.
    • I always urged my contemporaries to look for interest and inspiration to the development and study of drawing, but they would not listen. They thought the road to salvation lay by the way of colour.
    • Je n'admets pas qu'une femme puisse dessiner comme ca.
    • A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people.
    • It seems to me that today, if the artist wishes to be serious - to cut out a little original niche for himself, or at least preserve his own innocence of personality - he must once more sink himself in solitude. There is too much talk and gossip; pictures are apparently made, like stock-market prices, by competition of people eager for profit; in order to do anything at all we need (so to speak) the wit and ideas of our neighbors as much as the businessmen need the funds of others to win on the market. All this traffic sharpens our intelligence and falsifies our judgment.
    • Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.
    • There is a kind of success that is indistinguishable from panic.
    • Une peinture, c'est d'abord un produit de l'imagination de l'artiste, ce ne doir jamais etre une copie. Si, ensuite, on peut y ajouter deux ou trois accents de nature, evidemment ca ne fait pas de mal.
    • C'est tres bien de copier ce qu'on voit, c'est beaucoup mieux de dessiner ce que l'on ne voit plus que dans son memoire. C'est une transformation pendant laquelle l'ingeniosite collabore avec la memoire. Vous ne reproduisez que ce qui vous a frappe, c'est-a-dire le necessaire.
    • Je voudrais etre illustre et inconnu.
    • Women can never forgive me; they hate me, they feel I am disarming them. I show them without their coquetry.
    • I have been, or seemed, hard with everyone because I was carried away by a sort of brutality born of my distrust in myself and my ill-humor. I have felt so badly equipped, so soft, in spite of the fact that my attitude towards art seemed to me so just. I was disgusted with everyone, and especially myself.
    • Visitor: Monsieur Degas, were there any of Monet's pictures at the Durand-Ruel exhibition? Degas: Why, I met Monet himself there, and I said to him, 'Let me get out of here. Those reflections in the water hurt my eyes!' His pictures were always too draughty for me. If it had been any worse I should have had to turn up my coat collar.
    • The air you breathe in a picture is not necessarily the same as the air out of doors.
    • If I were the government I would have a special brigade of gendarmes to keep an eye on artists who paint landscapes from nature. Oh, I don't mean to kill anyone; just a little dose of bird-shot now and then as a warning.
    • I, marry? Oh, I could never bring myself to do it. I would have been in mortal misery all my life for fear my wife might say, 'That's a pretty little thing,' after I had finished a picture.
    • I'm glad to say I haven't found my style yet. I'd be bored to death.
    • People call me the painter of dancing girls. It has never occurred to them that my chief interest in dancers lies in rendering movement and painting pretty clothes.
    • Il faut avoir une haute idee, non pas de ce qu'on fait, mais de ce qu'on pourra faire un jour; sans quoi ce n'est pas la peine de travailler.
    • Le dessin n'est pas la forme, il est la maniere de voir la forme.
    • A man is an artist only at certain moments, by an effort of will. Objects have the same appearance for everybody.
    • The museums are here to teach the history of art and something more as well, for, if they stimulate in the weak a desire to imitate, they furnish the strong with the means of their emancipation.
    • A picture is a thing which requires as much knavery, as much malice, and as much vice as the perpetration of a crime. Make it untrue and add an accent of truth.
    • Art is vice. One does not wed it, one rapes it.
    • Even working from nature you have to compose.
    • Drawing is not what you see but what you must make others see.
    • Make a drawing. Start it all over again, trace it. Start it and trace it again.
    • You must do over the same subject ten times, a hundred times. In art nothing must appear accidental, even a movement.
    • Make people's portraits in familiar and typical attitudes.
    • Work a great deal at evening effects, lamplight, candlelight, etc. The intriguing thing is not to show the source of the light but the effect of the lighting.
    • Be sure to give the same expression to a person's face that you give to his body.
    • Painting is not very difficult when you don't know how; but when you know, oh! then, it's another matter.
    • It requires courage to make a frontal attack on nature through the broad planes and the large lines and it is cowardly to do it by the facets and details. It is a battle.
    • Everybody has talent at twenty-five. The difficult thing is to have it at fifty.
    • But it's true, isn't it Pauline, that people imagine that the artists and their models spend their time getting up to all sorts of obscenities? As far as work goes, well, they paint or sculpt when they are tired of enjoying themselves.
    • Conversation in real life is full of half-finished sentences and overlapping talk. Why shouldn't painting be too?
    • Damn, and just when I was starting to get it!
    • Drawing is the artist's most direct and spontaneous expression, a species of writing: it reveals, better than does painting, his true personality.
    • Great patience is called for on the hard path that I have entered on.
    • How awful it is not being able to see clearly any more! I have had to give up drawing and painting and for years now content myself with sculpture ... But if my eyesight continues to dim I won't even be able to model any more. What will I do with my days then?
    • I feel as a horse must feel when the beautiful cup is given to the jockey.
    • I frequently lock myself in my studio. I do not often see the people I love, and in the end I shall suffer for it... painting is one's private life.
    • If painting weren't so difficult, it wouldn't be fun.
    • The moods of sadness that come over anyone who takes up art... these dismal moods have very little compensation.
    • The secret is to follow the advice the masters give you in their works while doing something different from them.
    • Truth is never ugly when one can find in it what one needs.
    • What is certain is that setting a piece of nature in place and drawing it are two very different things.
    • What use is my mind? Granted that it enables me to hail a bus and to pay my fare. But once I am inside my studio, what use is my mind? I have my model, my pencil, my paints. My mind doesn't interest me.
    • I always suspect an artist who is successful before he is dead.
    • A strange fellow, this Degas - sickly, a bundle of nerves, with such weak eyes that he is afraid of going blind, yet for these very reasons extremely sensitive to the character of things. He is more skillful in capturing the essence of modern life than anyone I know.
    • With what is he concerned? Drawing was at its lowest ebb; it had to be restored. Looking at these nudes, I exclaim, 'Drawing has come back again!' As a man and painter he sets an example. Degas is one of those rare masters who could have had anything he wanted, yet he scorned decorations, honors, fortune, without bitterness, without jealousy.
    • I have often heard Degas say that in painting you must give the idea of the true by means of the false.
    • I would ask him to give me his definition of drawing. 'You don't know a thing about it,' he would always end up saying. And without fail he would go on to this apologue: that the Muses do their work on their own, each apart from the others, and that they never talk shop. The day's work over, there are no discussions, no comparisons of their respective labors. 'They just dance,' he would shout.
    • Forain s'etait construit un hotel, et fil installer le telephone presque nouveau. Il voulut d'abord 'epater' Degas. Il l'invite a diner, previent un compere, qui, pendant le diner, appelle Forain a l'appareil. Quelque mots echange, Forain revient. Degas lui dit: 'C'est ca le telephone? On vous sonne et vous y allez.'
    • All Paris knew him as a fighter, a recluse, guarding his privacy with cruel, crushing words. The habitues of the Paris boulevards defended themselves against his scorn by accusing him of insincerity. 'Degas,' they said, 'would like to see his reflection in a boulevard window in order to give himself the satisfaction of breaking the plate-glass with his cane.'
    • To anyone who is not an artist it must seem rather strange that Degas who could do anything - for whom setting down what he saw presented no difficulties at all - should have continued to draw the same poses year after year - often, it would seem, with increasing difficulty. Just as a classical dancer repeats the same movements again and again, in order to achieve a greater perfection of line and balance, so Degas repeats the same motifs, it was one of the things that gave him so much sympathy with dancers. He was continually struggling to achieve an idea of perfect form, but this did not prevent him looking for the truth in what might seem an artificial situation.
    • He was an avid collector of both old and new art; in his sixties he purchased two Gauguins, and when pushing eighty he remarked with some admiration of Cubism that 'it seems even more difficult than painting.'
    • edgar degas

Quotes by Famous People

Who Were Also Born On July 19thWho Also Died On September 27th
Joseph Smith
Edgar Degas
John Martin
Charlie Chaplin
Walter Benjamin
Edgar Degas
Karl Kraus

Copyright ©