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Patrick Swift

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Technical criticism in particular is the despair of the artist. No one but an idiot would offer a poet his comments in terms of spondees and trochees; why must the painter daily suffer the indignity? Any picture which makes one conscious first of its technical qualities, good or bad, is not a good picture, whatever else it may be.

 
Patrick Swift

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An example: if I compose a picture using as objects a scrap of bark, a scrap of butterfly wing and a purely imaginary form, you probably won’t recognise the bark, or the butterfly wing, and you’ll say: ‘What does this stand for? It is an abstract picture. No it’s a representational picture’.. ..There is no such thing as ‘abstract’, or ‘concrete’ either. There is a good picture and a bad picture. There is the picture that moves you and the picture that leaves you cold.. ..A picture has a value in itself, like a musical score, like a poem.

 
Fernand Leger
 

The same feeling (he saw a work of A. Ryder for the very first time, fh)) came over me in the given degree as came out of the Emerson’s Essays when they were first given to me I I felt as I have read a page of the Bible in both cases. All my essential Yankee qualities we re brought forth out of this picture and if I needed to be stamped an American this was the first picture that had done this – for it had in it everything that I knew and had experienced about my own New England – even though I had never lived by the sea – it had in it the stupendous solemnity of a Blake (English religious painter, fh) picture and it had a sense of realism besides that bore such a force of nature itself as to leave me breathless.

 
Marsden Hartley
 

I think he's a very good technician. And he has something in Psycho, he had some moments. Psycho is one of his most interesting pictures because he had to make the picture very fast, with very primitive means. He had little money, and this picture tells very much about him. Not very good things. He is completely infantile, and I would like to know more — no, I don't want to know — about his behaviour with, or, rather, against women. But this picture is very interesting.

 
Ingmar Bergman
 

Sane judgment abhors nothing so much as a picture perpetrated with no technical knowledge, although with plenty of care and diligence. Now the sole reason why painters of this sort are not aware of their own error is that they have not learnt Geometry, without which no one can either be or become an absolute artist; but the blame for this should be laid upon their masters, who are themselves ignorant of this art.

 
Albrecht Durer
 

Gauguin, that curious artist, that alien whose mien and the look in whose eyes vaguely remind one of Rembrandt's "Portrait of a Man" in the Galerie Lacaze — this friend of mine likes to make one feel that a good picture is equivalent to a good deed; not that he says so, but it is difficult to be on intimate terms with him without being aware of a certain moral responsibility.

 
Vincent van Gogh
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