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Artistic Insults - Page 1 - 2

... a life passed among pictures makes not a painter - else the policeman in the National Gallery might assert himself. As well allege that he who lives in a library must needs die a poet. Let not Mr Ruskin flatter himself that more education makes the difference between himself and the policeman when both stand gazing in the Gallery.
James McNeil Whistler (1834-1903), painter, on John Ruskin (1819-1900), critic
A decorator tainted with insanity.
Kenyon Cox, American critic, in Harper's Weekly (1913) on Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), French painter
A monstrous orchid.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) on Aubrey Beardsley (1872-98)
As for M. Cezanne, his name will be forever linked with the most memorable artistic joke of the last fifteen years.
Camille Mauclair, critic, on Paul Cezanne
Daubaway Weirdsley.
Punch (February 1895) on Aubrey Beardsley (1872-98), British artist and author
Epstein is a great sculptor. I wish he would wash, but I believe Michelangelo never did, so I suppose it is part of the tradition.
Ezra Pound (1885-1972), American poet
He bores me. He ought to have stuck to his flying machines.
Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) on Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
He is nothing but a peeping Tom, behind the coulisses and among the dressing rooms of ballet dancers, noting only travesties on fallen womanhood, most disgusting and offensive.
The Churchman on Edgar Degas (1834-1917), French painter
He will never be anything but a dauber.
Titian (c. 1490-1576) on Tintoretto (1518-94)
His pictures seem to resemble not pictures but a sample book of patterns of linoleum.
Cyril Asquith, British critic, on Paul Klee (1879-1940)
I have been to it and am pleased to find it more odious than I ever dared hope.
Samuel Butler (1835-1902) on a Dante Gabriel Rossetti exhibition
I have seen and heard much of Cockney impudence before now; but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face.
John Ruskin (1819-1900) on James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), American painter
I mock thee not, though I by thee am mocked; Thou call'st me madman, but I call thee blockhead.
William Blake (1757-1827) on John Flaxman (1755-1826), sculptor
If people dug up remains of this civilisation a thousand years hence, and found Epstein's statues and that man [Havelock] Ellis, they would think we were just savages.
Doris Lessing (b.1919), South African writer, on Jacob Epstein (1880-1959), British sculptor
If this is art it must be ostracised as the poets were banished from Plato's republic.
Robert Ross, British critic, in the Morning Post (1910) on Vincent van Gogh (1853-90)
It makes me look as if I were straining a stool.
Winston Churchill (1874-1965) on a portrait of him by Graham Sutherland (1903-80)
It resembles a tortoiseshell cat having a fit in a plate of tomatoes.
Mark Twain (1835-1910) on J. M. W. Turner's The Slave Ship'
Just explain to Monsieur Renoir that the torso of a woman is not a mass of decomposing flesh, its green and violet spots indicating the state of complete putrefaction of a corpse.
Albert Wolff, critic, on Auguste Renoir (1841 -1919)
Le Dejeuner sur I'herbe - this is a young man's practical joke, a shameful sore not worth exhibiting in this way.
Louis Etienne, French critic, on the painting by Edouard Manet (1 832-83)
Mr Lewis' pictures appeared to have been painted by a mailed fist in a cotton glove.
Dame Edith Sitwell (1887-1964) on Wyndham Lewis (1884-1957)

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