The world is divided into two classes - invalids and nurses.— James Whistler
The most genuine James Whistler quotes that are new and everybody is talking about
An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.
Nature contains the elements, in colour and form, of all pictures, as the keyboard contains the notes of all music. But the artists is born to pick, and choose, and group with science, these elements, that the result may be beautiful - as the musician gathers his notes, and forms his chords, until he brings forth from chaos glorious harmony
It takes a long time for a man to look like his portrait.
If other people are going to talk, conversation becomes impossible.
I always ask at once, 'Do you drink?' and if she says 'No,' I bow politely and say I am sorry but I fear she will not suit. All good cooks drink.
I can't tell you if genius is hereditary, because heaven has granted me no offspring.
To say to the painter that Nature is to be taken as she is, is to say to the player that he may sit on the piano.
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 color.
You shouldn't say it is not good. You should say, you do not like it; and then, you know, you're perfectly safe.
I am not arguing with you - I am telling you.
Mauve is just pink trying to be purple.
Paint should not be applied thick. It should be like a breath on the surface of a pane of glass.
Frederic Leighton to James McNeill Whistler: 'My dear Whistler, you leave your pictures in such a sketchy, unfinished state. Why don't you ever finish them?' James McNeill Whistler to Frederic Leighton: 'My dear Leighton, why do you ever begin yours?
I maintain that two and two would continue to make four, in spite of the whine of the amateur for three, or the cry of the critic for five.
Art should be independent of all clap-trap - should stand alone, and appeal to the artistic sense of eye or ear, without confounding this with emotions entirely foreign to it, as devotion, pity, love, patriotism and the like. All these have no kind of concern with it; and that is why I insist on calling my works 'arrangements' and 'harmonies.
Art is a goddess of dainty thought, reticent of habit, abjuring all obtrusiveness, purposing in no way to better others. She is, withal selfishly occupied with her own perfection only - having no desire to teach.
Work alone will efface the footsteps of work.
A student of James McNeill Whistler tells the great artist, 'I tend to paint what I see.' Whistler replies, 'Ah! The shock will come when you see what you paint!
The masterpiece should appear as the flower to the painter - perfect in its bud as in its bloom - with no reason to explain its presence - no mission to fulfill - a joy to the artist, a delusion to the philanthropist - a puzzle to the botanist - an accident of sentiment and alliteration to the literary man.
The vast majority of English folk cannot and will not consider a picture as a picture, apart from any story which it may be supposed to tell.
If silicon had been a gas I should have been a major-general.
Hang on the walls of your mind the memory of your successes.
Take counsel of your strength, not your weakness. Think of the good jobs you have done. Think of the times when you rose above your average level of performance and carried out an idea or a dream or a desire for which you had deeply longed. Hang these pictures on the walls of your mind and look at them as you travel the roadway of life.
Listen! There was never an artistic period. There was never an art-loving nation.
A picture is finished when all trace of the means used to bring about the end has disappeared.
Truly color is vice! Of course, it can be, and has the right to be one of the finest virtues. Controlled by the strong hand and careful guidance of her Master drawing, color is a splendid Mistress, with a mate worthy of herself, her lover, but her Master likewise, the most magnificent Mistress possible, and the result is evident in all the glorious things that spring from their union.
The explanation is quite simple. I wished to be near my mother.
Nature is very rarely right, to such an extent even, that it might almost be said that nature is usually wrong.
If the man who paints only the tree, or flower, or other surface he sees before him were an artist, the king of artists would be the photographer. It is for the artist to do something beyond this.
It takes a long time for a man to look like his portrait.
The work of a master reeks not of the sweat of the brow - suggests no effort - and is finished from its beginning.
Industry in art is a necessity - not a virtue - and any evidence of the same, in the production, is a blemish, not a quality; a proof, not of achievement, but of absolutely insufficient work, for work alone will efface the footsteps of work.
To say of a picture, as is often said in its praise, that it shows great and earnest labour, is to say that it is incomplete and unfit for view.
Can't a person be born where they want to be born?
For art and joy go together, with bold openness, and high head, and ready hand - fearing naught and dreading no exposure.
An artist's career always begins tomorrow
Over and over again did the Attorney-General cry out aloud, in the agony of his cause, 'What is to become of painting if the critics withhold their lash?
I remember that at one time I always made a drawing before going to bed!! - Of myself I mean - though I finally destroyed most of them.
Art is limited to the infinite, and beginning there cannot progress.
Nature is usually wrong.
The rare few, who, early in life have rid themselves of the friendship of the many.
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.
We look at a painting to know the painter; it's his company we are after, not his skill.
Art happens-no hovel is safe from it, no prince may depend upon it, the vastest intelligence cannot bring it about.
People will forgive anything but beauty and talent. So I am doubly unpardonable.
It is for the artist... in portrait painting to put on canvas something more than the face the model wears for that one day; to paint the man, in short, as well as his features.