William Dobell Quotes
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famous William Dobell quotations
Inspirational Art Quotes by the Australian portrait painter Sir William Dobell
Born William Dobell - Cookshill, Newcastle, Australia - 24th of September, 1899 / Died - 13th of May 1970
Popular William Dobell works include portrait paintings, often elongated and distorted, almost to the point of being caricatures. Dobell achieved a lot of public attention in Australia after the Archibald prize controversy, with his portrait of Joshua Smith.
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William Dobell Quotes


  • "Sometimes I move around the head, getting different angles. For instance if I get a full face there's nothing to tell you really how large the nose is. I have to get a sculptor's view of the head and do a side one too because when you're doing the full job then you can make the nose come forward."
    William Dobell
  • "I have been trying to develop a style of my own derived from the Old Masters. The leaders of the so-called ''modern" movements have done the same.. although they have developed in different directions."
    William Dobell
  • "So long as people expect paintings to be simply coloured photographs they get no individuality and in the case of portraits, no characterisation. The real artist is striving to depict his subject’s character and to stress the caricature, but at least it is art which is alive."
    William Dobell
  • "I never intended to be a portrait painter. It was after the Joshua Smith painting that people began asking me to do portraits but I never wanted to be commissioned to paint portraits. I like to choose my own subject and make a character study from it."
    William Dobell
  • "Honing a thing down until you can still get through with economy, that's power. Learn your technique thoroughly, immerse yourself in it, and then just throw it all out the window, and express what you feel.. and it will come through that you are a technician."
    William Dobell
  • "He was conscious of his looks (Joshua Smith) and I tried to portray the man as I knew him, because he was a nice, likeable person with great dignity."
    William Dobell

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  • "I use an element of distortion in order to make the portrait more like the subject than he is himself."
    William Dobell
  • "A sincere artist is not one who makes a faithful attempt to put on to canvas what is in front of him, but one who tries to create something which is, in itself, a living thing."
    William Dobell
  • "I've never been able to go out and paint. I've never liked drawing or painting in public. I can't bring myself to that."
    William Dobell
  • "Joshua saw the progress of the portrait all the time I was painting it. He gave me every facility and was in no way critical when he saw the finished work.. he congratulated me on the portrait."
    William Dobell
  • "My best work was always done and still is I think when I'm experimenting. If I stop experimenting I feel it just becomes a drudgery. That's why I take so long and my sitters get tired waiting for commissioned portraits. If they commission me they have to wait years sometimes because I discard so many."
    William Dobell

Pages related to the William Dobell quotations include: Rembrandt Quotes, Brett Whiteley Quotes, Portrait Quotes, Gay Art, and Famous Australian Artists.

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