In art progress consists not in extension but in the knowledge of its limits.
The limits of the means employed determine the style, engender the new form and impel to creation.
The charm and the force of children’s paintings often stem from the limited means employed. Conversely the art of decadence is a product of extension.
New means, new subjects.
The subject is not the object; it is the new unity, the lyricism which stems entirely from the means employed.
The painter thinks in forms and colours.
The aim is not to reconstitute an anecdotal fact but to constitute a pictorial fact.
Painting is a mode of representation.
9 One must not imitate what one wishes to create.
10 One does not imitate the appearance; the appearance is the result.
11 To be pure imitation, painting must make an abstraction of appearances.
12 To work from nature is to improvise. One must beware of an ali-purp 0$e formula, suitable for interpreting the other arts as well as reality, and which instead of creating, would produce only a style or rather a stylization.
13 The arts that make their effect by their purity have never been all-purpose arts. Greek sculpture and its decadence, among others, teach us this.
14 The senses deform, the mind forms. Work to perfect the mind. There is no certainty except in what the mind conceives.
15 A painter trying to make a circle would only make a ring. Possibly the look of it may satisfy him but he will have doubts. The compass will restore his certainty. The papiers colles in my drawings have also given me a kind of certainty.
16 Trompe-l’oeil is due to an anecdotal accident that makes its effect through the simplicity of the facts.
17 The papiers coiles, the imitation wood – and other elements of the same nature – which I have used in certain drawings, also make their effect through the simplicity of the facts, and it is this that has led people to confuse them with trompe-l’ml, of which they are precisely the opposite. They too are simple facts, but created by the mind and such that they are one of the justifications of a new figuration in space.
18 Nobility comes from contained emotion.
19 Emotion must not be rendered by an emotional trembling. It is not something that is added, or that is imitated. It is the germ, the work is the flowering.
20 I love the rule which corrects emotion.