The Art Spirit

ART when really understood is the province of every human being.

It is simply a question of doing things, anything, well. It is not an outside, extra thing.

When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressing creature. He is interesting to himself and he becomes interesting to other people. Where those who are not artists are trying to close the book, he opens it, shows there are still more pages possible.

The world would stagnate without him, and the world would be beautiful with him. He disturbs, upsets, enlightens, and he opens ways for better understanding. He does not have to be a painter or a sculptor to be an artist. He can work in any medium. He simply has to find the gain in the work itself, not outside it.

Museums of art will not make a country an art country. But where there is the art spirit there will be precious works to fill museums. Better still, there will be the happiness that is in the making. Art tends towards balance, order, judgement of relative values, the laws of growth, the economy of living – very good things for anyone to be interested in.

Robert Henri  1865-1929
Artist, painter, teacher at The Art Students League, New York City

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