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A collection of thoughts and quotes by Edgar Degas on art, artist, painting, colors, ballet, impressionism, Pavlov, dance, writing, creativity and love.

35 Inspiring Quotes By Edgar Degas That Will Paint Your Life With Fresh Colors

Quick Facts

Famous As
Impressionist Painter

Born On

Died On

Born In
Paris, France

Died At Age

The famous Parisian painter Edgar Degas is known for his unconventional ways of portraying human figures especially dancers. He was born in a family of artists which helped him enhance his skills and interest in painting. His skill was acknowledged by some great masters of Louvre and he was allowed to copy paintings of other painters at an early age of 18. He joined a renowned art school but his stay was short-lived due to his distinctive style of his art. He further traveled to various places while improving his techniques by copying legendary artists like ‘Leonardo Da Vinci’. This helped him make portraits but he was not accepted as he did not follow the traditional ways. This compelled him to collaborate with the French Painter ‘Edouard Manet’ to form a group of avant-garde artists called ‘Society of Independent Artists’. This group came up with their first exhibition which helped Edgar to exhibit his paintings to the world. This was followed by various other exhibitions where Edgar’s numerous paintings were appreciated but his most notable works include 'The Bellelli Family' and ‘Frieze of Dancers’. His paintings had a radical approach and always portrayed women like ballet dancers and milliners. We bring to you a compilation of sayings and quotes by the distinguished artist which have been excerpted from his work and life. Go through these famous Edgar Degas’s quotes and thoughts that will give you a glimpse of his maverick mind.

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.

- Edgar Degas

For those who don't know what they are doing, painting is easy. For those who do know what they are doing, painting is difficult.

- Edgar Degas

You must aim high, not in what you are going to do at some future date, but in what you are going to make yourself do to-day. Otherwise, working is just a waste of time.

- Edgar Degas

Conversation in real life is full of half-finished sentences and overlapping talk. Why shouldn't painting be too?

- Edgar Degas

If I could have had my own way, I would have confined myself to black and white.

- Edgar Degas

The artist does not draw what he sees, but what he has to make others see.

- Edgar Degas

A man is an artist only at certain moments, by an effort of will. Objects have the same appearance for everybody.

- Edgar Degas

Hitherto the nude has always been represented in poses which presuppose an audience. But my women are simple, honest creatures who are concerned with nothing beyond their physical occupations... it is as if you were looking through a keyhole.

- Edgar Degas

The true traveler never arrives.

- Edgar Degas

No art is less spontaneous than mine. What I do is the result of reflection and the study of the great masters.

- Edgar Degas

Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.

- Edgar Degas

You have to have a high conception, not of what you are doing, but of what you may do one day: without that, there's no point in working.

- Edgar Degas

Everyone has talent at twenty-five. The difficulty is to have it at fifty.

- Edgar Degas

It seems to me that today, if the artist wishes to be serious - to cut out a little original niche for himself, or at least preserve his own innocence of personality - he must once more sink himself in solitude. There is too much talk and gossip; pictures are apparently made, like stock-market prices, by competition of people eager for profit; in order to do anything at all we need (so to speak) the wit and ideas of our neighbors as much as the businessmen need the funds of others to win on the market. All this traffic sharpens our intelligence and falsifies our judgment.

- Edgar Degas

It is all very well to copy what one sees, but it is far better to draw what one now only sees in one's memory. That is a transformation in which imagination collaborates with memory.

- Edgar Degas

Make a drawing. Start it all over again, trace it. Start it and trace it again.

- Edgar Degas

In painting you must give the idea of the true by means of the false.

- Edgar Degas

Great patience is called for on the hard path that I have entered on.

- Edgar Degas

Your pictures would have been finished a long time ago if I were not forced every day to do something to earn money.

- Edgar Degas

I felt so insufficiently equipped, so unprepared, so weak, and at the same time it seemed to me that my reflections on art were correct. I quarreled with all the world and with myself.

- Edgar Degas

There is love, and there is work; and we have only one heart.

- Edgar Degas

A picture is first of all a product of the imagination of the artist; it must never be a copy.

- Edgar Degas

What a delightful thing is the conversation of specialists! One understands absolutely nothing and it's charming.

- Edgar Degas

I want to be famous but unknown!

- Edgar Degas

And even this heart of mine has something artificial. The dancers have sewn it into a bag of pink satin, pink satin slightly faded, like their dancing shoes.

- Edgar Degas

One must do the same subject over again ten times, a hundred times. In art nothing must resemble an accident, not even movement.

- Edgar Degas

Art is vice. You don't wed it, you rape it.

- Edgar Degas

A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people

- Edgar Degas

Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do.

- Edgar Degas

Art is vice. You don't marry it legitimately, you rape it.

- Edgar Degas

C'est vrai. Voil quelqu'un qui sent comme moi. (It is true. There is someone who feels as I do).

- Edgar Degas

So that's the telephone? They ring, and you run.

- Edgar Degas

Muses work all day long and then at night get together and dance...

- Edgar Degas

Art is vice. One does not wed it, one rapes it.

- Edgar Degas

We were created to look at one another, weren't we

- Edgar Degas