Best 42 of Ben Shahn quotes - MyQuotes

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Ben Shahn
By Anonym 13 Sep

Ben Shahn

I confess that Roy [Stryker] was a little bit dictatorial in his editing and he ruined quite a number of my pictures, which he stopped doing later. He used to punch a hole through a negative. Some of them were incredibly valuable. He didn't understand at the time.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ben Shahn

The values that reside in art are anarchic, they are every man's loves and hates and his momentary divine revelation.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ben Shahn

Being an artist is not only what you do, but how you live your life.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ben Shahn

Art almost always has its ingredient of impudence, its flouting of established authority, so that it may substitute its own authority and its own enlightenment.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ben Shahn

To abstract is to draw out the essence of a matter.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ben Shahn

Content may by trivial. But I do not think that any person may pronounce either upon the weight or upon the triviality of an idea before its execution.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ben Shahn

The moving toward one's inner self is a long pilgrimage for a painter. It offers many temporary successes and high points, but impels him on toward the more adequate image.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ben Shahn

The popular eye is not untrained; it is only wrongly trained - trained by inferior and insincere visual representations.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ben Shahn

Every great historic change has been based on nonconformity, has been bought either with the blood or with the reputation of nonconformists.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ben Shahn

The time when I had desire to go to the United States I didn't have a penny. It was in the middle of the depression, you know. I couldn't get as far as Hoboken at that time.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ben Shahn

It is an intimately communicative affair between the painter and his painting, a conversation back and forth, the painting telling the painter even as it receives its shape and form.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ben Shahn

I became interested in photography when I was sharing a studio with Walker Evans, and found my own sketching was inadequate.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ben Shahn

Personal style, be it that of Michelangelo, or that of Tintoretto... has always been that peculiar personal rapport which has developed between an artist and his medium.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ben Shahn

All art is based on nonconformity ... Without nonconformity we would have had no Bill of Rights or Magna Carta, no public education system, no nation upon this continent, no continent, no science at all, no philosophy, and considerably fewer religions.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ben Shahn

The natural reaction of the artist will be strongly towards bringing man back into focus as the center of importance.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ben Shahn

It is the mission of art to remind man from time to time that he is human, and the time is ripe, just now, today, for such a reminder.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ben Shahn

Forms in art arise from the impact of idea upon material... so that thinking and belief and attitudes may endure as actual things.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ben Shahn

I was brought in, not in the photographic department at all, I was brought in on a thing called Special Skills. I was to do posters, pamphlets, murals, propaganda in general, you know.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ben Shahn

I love chaos.... It's the poetic element in a dull and ordered world.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ben Shahn

The artist is likely to be looked upon with some uneasiness by the more conservative members of society.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ben Shahn

What is it about conformity itself that causes us all to require it of our neighbors and of our artists and then, with consummate fickleness, to forget those who fall into line and eternally celebrate those who do not?

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ben Shahn

When you talk about war on poverty it doesn't mean very much; but if you can show to some degree this sort of thing then you can show a great deal more of how people are living and a very great percentage of our people today.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ben Shahn

We tried to present the ordinary in an extraordinary manner. But that's the paradox because the only thing extraordinary about it was that it was so ordinary. Nobody had ever done it before, deliberately. Now it's called documentary, which I suppose is all right ... We just took pictures that cried out to be taken.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ben Shahn

The artist must operate on the assumption that the public consists in the highest order of individual; that he is civilized, cultured, and highly sensitive both to emotional and intellectual contexts. And while the whole public most certainly does not consist in that sort of individual, still the tendency of art is to create such a public - to lift the level of perceptivity, to increase and enrich the average individual's store of values... I believe that it is in a certain devotion to concepts of truth that we discover values.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ben Shahn

It may be a point of great pride to have a Van Gogh on the living room wall, but the prospects of having Van Gogh himself in the living room would put a great many devoted art lovers to rout.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ben Shahn

Each artist comes to the painting or sculpture because there he can be told that he, the individual, transcends all classes and flouts all predictions. In the work of art, he finds his uniqueness confirmed.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ben Shahn

A work of art rests its merits in traditional qualities. It may constitute a remarkable feat in craftsmanship; it may be a searching study of psychological states; it may be a nostalgic glance backward; it may be any one of an infinite number of concepts, none of which may have any possible bearing upon its degree of newness.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ben Shahn

How do you paint yellow wheat against a yellow sky? You paint it jet black.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ben Shahn

The apprehension of... values is intuitive; but it is not a built-in intuition, not something with which one is born. Intuition in art is actually the result of... prolonged tuition.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ben Shahn

Of course I realize that photography is not the technical facility as much as it is the eye, and this decision that one makes for the moment at which you are going to snap, you know.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ben Shahn

It is not the how of painting but the why. To imitate a style would be a little like teaching a tone of voice or a personality.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ben Shahn

I was primarily interested in people, and people in action, so that I did nothing photographically in the sense of doing buildings for their own sake or a still life or anything like that.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ben Shahn

If you're going to be an artist, all life is your subject. And all your experience is part of your art. A youngster told me recently that he was going to give himself a year to see if he has talent. A year! It takes a lifetime to see if you have it. Painting is total engagement.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ben Shahn

Now, when I came on to Washington to begin my job, I was so interested in photography at that time that I really would have preferred to work with Stryker than with my department, which was more artistic if you wish.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Ben Shahn

If what any artist has to say is fundamentally human and profound the public will ultimately take his work unto itself. But if his own conceptions are limited and narrow in their human meaning it seems likely that time will erase his work.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ben Shahn

I've been asked often what is the difference between an amateur and a professional artist, and I will tell you. An amateur artist is one who works all week at something else so he can paint on Saturday and Sunday. A professional artist is one whose wife works so he can paint all the time.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ben Shahn

All art is based on non-conformity.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ben Shahn

I believe that if it were left to artists to choose their own labels, most would choose none.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ben Shahn

I feel, having the choices I had, I felt I had more control over my own medium than I did over photography.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Ben Shahn

Only an individual can imagine, invent, or create. The whole audience of art is an audience of individuals.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Ben Shahn

To abstract is to draw out the essence of a matter. To abstract in art is to separate certain fundamentals from irrelevant material which surrounds them.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Ben Shahn

If one has set for himself the position that his painting shall not misconstrue his personal mode of thinking, then he must be rather alert to just what he does think.