“If I were you I would prefer a short and courageous career in art teaching to one that would be prolonged by hedgings-” Robert Henri in The Art Spirit

I love this Robert Henri quote from The Art Spirit that my friend James pointed out to me (you can read my review here too!):

If I were you I would prefer a short and courageous career in art teaching to one that would be prolonged by hedgings. What does it matter if by standing for the thing you really believe in, fighting for it, giving to others the reasons you have used in your own conviction, making no weak concessions, you fail. Such failure is success.

Many people would denounce what I have said as sentimental or even wild fanaticism. But don’t be fooled. The diplomatic hedger is all about us. You and I have seen many of them grow up and develop their game. Some of them have bank accounts, and are very respectable and safe citizens, but we are all well aware of the price paid and know it is far too dear. There are two classes of human beings. One has ideas, which it believes in fully, perhaps, but modifies to bring about “success.” The other class has ideas which it absolutely believes in and must carry out absolutely; success or no success. The first class has a tremendous majority and they are all slaves. The second class are the only free people in the world.

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