The greatest foe to art is luxury

leaves

That which alone can produce popular art among us: living a simple life

…you must dismiss at once as a delusion the hope that has been sometimes cherished, that you can have a building which is a work of art, and is therefore above all things properly built, at the same price as a building which only pretends to be this: never forget when people talk about cheap art in general, by the way, that all art costs time, trouble, and thought, and that money is only a counter to represent these things.

However I must try to answer the question I have supposed put, how are we to pay for decent houses?

It seems to me that by a great piece of good luck the way to pay for them, is by doing that which alone can produce popular art among us: living a simple life, I mean. Once more I say that the greatest foe to art is luxury, art cannot live in its atmosphere.

by William Morris (24 March 1834 – 3 October 1896)
from The Beauty of Life (1880)
part of Hopes and Fears for Art
image – Steve Punter

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