Some Robert Henri-isms…

Here are some quotes from Robert Henri, from his book ‘The Art Spirit’.  It has given me great joy and pleasure in the past 24 hours.  His words, I feel,  are meditations…

“An art student should read, or talk a great deal with those who have read.  His conversations with his intimate fellows should be more about his life and less of paint.”

“He should be careful of the influence of those with whom he consorts, and he runs a great risk in becoming a member of a large society, for large bodies tend toward the leveling of individuality to a common consent, the forming of adherence to a creed.”

“An artist who does not use his imagination is a mechanic.”

“All things change according to the state we are in.  Nothing is fixed.”

“There is nothing in all the world more beautiful or significant of the laws of the universe than the nude human body. In fact it is not only among the artists but among all people that a greater appreciation and respect for the human body should develop. When we respect the nude we will no longer have any shame about it.”

“The art student of these days is a pioneer. He lives in a decidedly colorless, materialistic age…Sometimes in the past we shot ahead, in certain ways, ahead of where we are now…We have yet as a body to come up to the art of living.”

“If a man has the soul of an artist he needs mastery of all the means of expression so that he may command them, for with his soul in activity he has much to say.”

“It is a splendid thing to live in the environment of great students. To have them about you in person if you can. If not in person, in their works. To live with them. Great students agree and disagree. They stir the waters.”

“If you want to know how to do a thing you must first have a complete desire to do that thing. Then go to kindred spirits–others who have wanted to do that thing–and study their ways and means, learn from their successes and failures and add your quota. Thus you may acquire from the experience of the race. And with this technical knowledge you may go forward, expressing through the play of forms the music that is in you and which is very personal to you.”

“Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think.”


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