Visual art education

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Art model posing in a French painting school following the atelier method

Visual arts education is the area of learning that is based upon only the kind of art that one can see, visual arts—drawing, painting, sculpture, and design in jewelry, pottery, weaving, fabrics, etc. and design applied to more practical fields such as commercial graphics and home furnishings.


  • I discovered soon that teaching has the handicap of retrospection. And that I don't believe in. So I started instead a method of handling material with the material itself. So that was my main change. Whereas Itten before (Itten left the Bauhaus in 1923 and Albers followed him as art teacher, ed.) had only spoken about the appearance, "matiere" - (the French word) and I said I would turn from "matiere" - the outside - to the inside, to the capacity of the material, before the appearance. And that changed the attitude basically I think.
  • To be a teacher is my greatest work of art. The rest is the waste product, a demonstration. If you want to express yourself you must present something tangible. But after a while this has only the function of a historic document. Objects aren't very important any more. I want to get to the origin of matter, to the thought behind it.
    • Joseph Beuys In: Willoughby Sharp, "An interview with Joseph Beuys," Artforum, November 1969; Cited in: Lucy R. Lippard. Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972. University of California Press, p. 121
  • The subject of industrial design is one of three important practical co-related subjects which should be taught in public schools, and to which practice and skill in drawing should be applied. Satisfactory results in this subject, however, depend entirely upon the manner in which it is taught. Instruction in industrial design means a clear presentation of the principles which obtain in the construction and harmonious arrangement of geometric form for decorative purposes, the proper use of plant forms in ornamental arrangements, and the principles of good taste to be found in the great history styles of art.
  • Fine Art then, records by idealised imitation the glorious works of good men, whilst it holds those of bad men up to our abhorrence — it gives to posterity their images, either on the tinted canvass or the sculptured marble — it imitates the beautiful effects of nature as seen in the glowing landscape or the rising storm, and perpetuates the appearance of those beauteous gems of the seasons — flowers and fruits, which, though fading whilst the painter catches their tints, yet live after decay by and through his genius.
    Industrial Art, on the contrary, aims at the embellishment of the works of man, by and through that power which is given to the artist for the investigation of the beautiful in nature; and in transferring it to the loom, the printing machine, the potter's wheel, or the metal worker's mould, he reproduces nature in a new form, adapting it to his purpose by an intelligence arising out of his knowledge as an artist and as a workman. In short, the adaptation of the natural type to a new material compels him to reproduce, almost create, as well as imitateinvent as well as copy — design as well as draw!

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