21 November 2013

I Sing for the Muses and Myself

Albert Pinkham Ryder (1847-1917), quoted in Frederic Fairchild Sherman's privately printed monograph on the artist (New York: 1920), pp. 21-22:
The artist needs but a roof, a crust of bread and his easel, and all the rest God gives him in abundance. He must live to paint and not paint to live. He cannot be a good fellow; he is rarely a wealthy man, and upon the potboiler is inscribed the epitaph of his art.

The artist should not sacrifice his ideals to a landlord and a costly studio. A rain-tight roof, frugal living, a box of colors and God's sunlight through clear windows keep the soul attuned and the body vigorous for one's daily work. The artist should once and forever emancipate himself from the bondage of appearance and the unpardonable sin of expending on ignoble aims the precious ointment that should serve only to nourish the lamp burning before the tabernacle of his muse.
Albert Pinkham Ryder, Dancing Dryads (1879)