George Inness Quotes on Art

by Armand Cabrera
Most of these quotes come from the Inness biography Life, Art,and Letters Of George Innes which was written by his son in 1917
Details in the picture must be elaborated only fully enough to produce the impression that the artist wishes to produce. When more than this is done, the impression is weakened or lost, and we see simply an array of external things which may be very cleverly painted, and may look very real, but which do not make an artistic painting. The effort and the difficulty of the artist is to combine the two, namely to make the thought clear and to preserve the unity of impression.
Art is the endeavor on the part of the Mind (Mind being the creative factor) to express through the senses ideas of the great principles of unity

The over love of knowing is a chronic trouble with artists, and produces in their works the appearance of effort and labor instead of that freedom which is the life of truth.

Knowledge must bow to Spirit

The greatness of art is not in the display of knowledge, or in material accuracy, but in the distinctness with which it conveys the impressions of a personal vital force, that acts spontaneously, without fear or hesitation.

We are all the subjects of impressions, and some of us seek to convey the impressions to others. In the art of communicating impressions lies the power of generalizing without losing the logical connection of parts to the whole which satisfies the mind.

Never put anything on your canvas that isn’t of any use; never use a detail unless it means something.

You can only achieve something if you have an ambition so powerful as to forget yourself. 

A picture without passion has no meaning and it would be far better had it never been painted.

Let us believe in Art, not as something to gratify or suit commercial ends, but something to be loved and cherished because it is the handmaid of the spiritual life of the age.

3 thoughts on “George Inness Quotes on Art

  1. Inness has given insight into what is to be a true artist, this is where the academics fail as they try hard to follow the style of others and imitate … by this they loose out on Spirits which enliven the artwork . His words truly articulate the spiritual nature of art.

  2. Art is about one’s emotional response to a subject; a painting without feeling or that does not express a personal response or vision is merely wallpaper art.
    Perhaps this is why so much of what is painted to sell is so devoid of true emotion and is laboured.

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