William Friedkin on expression

“Look, it’s a privilege to express yourself creatively, in film, in writing, sculpting, painting, anything. It’s a privilege. You wanna know what’s tragic in the arts? That Vincent van Gogh never sold a painting in his life. And now you can buy one for fifty million dollars. That Vermeer, who made the greatest painting I’ve ever seen, View of Delft, died broke. There was a custom in Delft that when a man died they would give his clothes to the poor. Vermeer’s clothes were in such poor condition they had to burn them. His wife was selling his canvasses on the street for next to nothing. There are only 37 known Vermeers. No one knows how many he painted. Many were probably sold or thrown away. He died broke and he was the greatest artist who ever lived, in my mind at least. Rembrandt wound up bankrupt. Beethoven ended up writing to his publisher asking when he would be paid for this and that. They all died broke. That Sorcerer didn’t do as well isn’t even a blip on the screen of artistic tragedy. There is no tragedy in my art. I’ve been very lucky. I’ve had audiences who appreciated my work. Sometimes they didn’t, but I had the opportunity to create something and express myself. And that’s a fantastic gift.”

— William Friedkin, RIP (via)