„Industry in art is a necessity - not a virtue - and any evidence of the same, in the production, is a blemish, not a quality; a proof, not of achievement, but of absolutely insufficient work, for work alone will efface the footsteps of work.“

Propositions, 2
1870 - 1903, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies' (1890)

Adopted from Wikiquote. Last update June 3, 2021. History
James McNeill Whistler photo
James McNeill Whistler26
American-born, British-based artist 1834 - 1903

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Quote in Vincent's letter to Theo van Gogh, from The Hague, 3 June 1883; as cited in Stranger on the Earth : A Psychological Biography of Vincent Van Gogh (1996) by Albert J. Lubin, p. 22
Variant translation: For me, the work is an absolute necessity. I cannot put it off; I don't care for anything else; that is to say, the pleasure in something else ceases at once, and I become melancholy when I cannot go on with my work. I feel then as the weaver does when he sees that his threads have got tangled, the pattern he had on the loom has gone to the deuce, and his exertion and deliberation are lost.
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Context: The work is an absolute necessity for me. I can't put it off, I don't care for anything but the work; that is to say, the pleasure in something else ceases at once and I become melancholy when I can't go on with my work. Then I feel like a weaver who sees that his threads are tangled, and the pattern he had on the loom is gone to hell, and all his thought and exertion is lost.

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