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Sculpture

  • [Sculpture:] The most breadless art of our day.

  • It's very inconvenient being a sculptor. It's like playing the double-bass; one's so handicapped by one's baggage.

  • He's been a waiten there in th wood you might say since before I was born. I jist brung him out a little — but one a these days, jist you wait an see, we'll find th time an a face fer him an bring him out a that block.

  • Vienna was the city of statues. They were as numerous as the people who walked the streets. They stood on the top of the highest towers, lay down on stone tombs, sat on horseback, kneeled, prayed, fought animals and wars, danced, drank wine and read books made of stone. They adorned cornices like the figureheads of old ships. They stood in the heart of fountains glistening with water as if they had just been born. They sat under the trees in the parks summer and winter. Some wore costumes of other periods, and some no clothes at all. Men, women, children, kings, dwarfs, gargoyles, unicorns, lions, clowns, heroes, wise men, prophets, angels, saints and soldiers preserved for Vienna an illusion of eternity.

  • ... Sculpture is more than any other art the expression of restraint.

  • I think our civilization is minimal enough without underlining it. Sculpture as a created object in space should enrich, not reflect, and should be beautiful. Beauty is its function.

  • At this holiday time I always think of our dear mother. I never saw her again after the day you took the fateful decision to send me to a lunatic asylum! I think of that lovely portrait I did of her in the shade of our beautiful garden. ... I doubt whether that hateful person I often mention to you [Rodin] would have the audacity to attribute it to himself, like my other works — that would be too much, the portrait of my mother!

  • Every day you have to abandon your past or accept it and then, if you cannot accept it, you become a sculptor.

    • Louise Bourgeois,
    • in Christiane Meyer-Thoss, Louise Bourgeois: Designing for Free Fall ()
  • For me, sculpture is the body. My body is my sculpture.

    • Louise Bourgeois,
    • in Christiane Meyer-Thoss, Louise Bourgeois: Designing for Free Fall ()
  • ... to give life to sculpture I found it must have a pulse, a breathing quality that could change in a flash, and it must never appear static, hard, or unrevealing. All these demands formed themslves in my thoughts, and became like an endless obsession.

  • Sculpture is a parable in three dimensions, a symbol of a spiritual experience, and a means of conveying truth by concentrating its essence into visible form. ... It must be the reflection of the artist who creates it and of the era in which he lives, not an echo or a memory of other days and other ways.

  • If one of God's children finds he cannot see or feel life in other terms than those of form, if he tries to escape and live outside of this obsession and fails, he generally calls himself a sculptor.

  • Sculpture may be almost anything: a monument, a statue, an old coin, a bas-relief, a portrait bust, a lifelong struggle against heavy odds.

  • I come to the point of using steel, and simply cannot. It's like the marriage proposal of a perfectly eligible man who just isn't loveable. It is wood I love.

  • My left hand is my thinking hand. The right is only a motor hand. This holds the hammer. The left hand, the thinking hand, must be relaxed, sensitive. The rhythms of thought pass through the fingers and grip of this hand into the stone.

  • I love my blocks of marble, always piling up in the yard like a flock of sheep.

  • All my early memories are of forms and shapes and textures. Moving through and over the West Riding landscape with my father in his car, the hills were sculptures; the roads defined the form. Above all, there was the sensation of moving physically over the contours of fullnessess and concavities, through hollows and over peaks — feeling, touching, seeing, through mind and hand and eye. This sensation has never left me. I, the sculptor, am the landscape. I am the form and the hollow, the thrust and the contour.

  • Clay. It's rain, dead leaves, dust, all my dead ancestors. Stones that have been ground into sand. Mud. The whole cycle of life and death.

  • ... I am moved to say a word in favor of sculpture being a far higher art than painting. There is something in the purity of the marble, in the perfect calmness, if one may say so, of a beautiful statue, which cannot be found in painting. ... People talk of the want of expression in marble, when it is capable of a thousand times more than canvas. ... I grant that the painter must be as scientific as the sculptor, and in general must possess a greater variety of knowledge, and what he produces is more easily understood by the mass, because what they see on canvas is most frequently to be observed in nature. In high sculpture it is not so. A great thought must be embodied in a great manner, and such greatness is not to find its counterpart in everyday things.

    • Harriet Hosmer,
    • in Cornelia Carr, ed., Harriet Hosmer: Letters and Memories ()