Dear Mr. Clifford:
I have always tried to hide my own efforts and wished my works to have the lightness and joyousness of a springtime which never lets anyone suspect the labors that it has cost. So I am afraid that the young, seeing in my work only the apparent facility and negligence in the drawing, will use this as an excuse for dispensing with certain efforts which I believe necessary.
The few exhibitions that I have had the opportunity of seeing during these last years make me fear that the young painters are avoiding the slow and painful preparation which is necessary for the education of any contemporary painter who claims to construct by color alone.
This slow and painful work is indispensable. Indeed, if gardens were not dug over at the proper time, they would soon be good for nothing. Do we not first have to clear, and then cultivate, the ground at each season of the year?
When an artist has not known how to prepare his flowering period, by work which bears little resemblance to the final result, he has a short future before him; or when an artist who has “arrived” no longer feels the necessity of getting back to earth from time to time, he begins to go round in circles repeating himself, until by the very repetition, his curiosity is extinguished.