“. . . . Soon you won’t see anyone but artists in the street and the one thing you’ll have no end of trouble in finding is a man. They are everywhere: the cafés are full of them, new art schools open up every single day. I’ve always wondered how a teacher of painting, unless he teaches a locksmith how to copy keys, has ever been able to find a single pupil since the beginning of the world. People make fun of those who frequent palm-readers and other fortune tellers and never indulge in any irony about the simple souls who go to art school. Can anyone learn to draw or paint, to have talent or genius? And yet we find in these studios big dadoes of thirty or even forty and God forgive me, ninnies of fifty, yes, sweet Jesus! poor old fogies of fifty . . . .
It may be argued that art schools provide painters with heat in winter and a model. And for a true painter a model is life itself. At any rater you can judge for yourself whether a professional model is more alive than the plaster statues people copy in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts; but the frequenters of the Academie Matisse are full of contempt for the pompous deadheads at the Beaux-Arts; why, just imagine: they are turning out advanced art. It is true that some among them believe that art is superior to nature. Yes, my dear!
I am astonished that some crook has not had the idea of opening a writing school.”
(Arthur Cravan, “Exhibition at the Independents” (1914). Reprinted in Robert Motherwell’s The Dada Painters & Poets: An Anthology, p. 4. Translated by Motherwell, I assume.)