Yanko [Varda] allowed me to enter a world strange and fanciful. Although I had to cope daily with real and mundane matters, I found that some of the magic of his world stayed around my shoulders.
[Varda] was a visionary who saw the entire universe as a manifestation of light.
In every new collage he produces he give us a fresh view of life’s playground taken from the angle of eternity. He never moves straight forward; his advances are always in the form of spiritual pirouettes.The restraint and sobriety of his approach explains the exuberant gayety of its compositions wherein a gleam becomes a glance and a glance a gleam.
[Varda] delivers us from the stranglehold of realism, the lack of passion and wit of other painters. He fulfills the main role of the artist which is to transform ugliness into beauty.
Jean Varda, an eloquent, quick-witted cosmopolitan whose conversations are as famous in New York, London, and Paris as they are in San Francisco, exhorted his students to believe in painting as a self-sufficient way of life rather than as a tool. Varda would say, ‘Painting’ is a philosophical instrument of life... a painting has a cosmic reason for being; its creation is the result of the ecstatic moment at the peak of clarity of vision.’
To the black and white keys of a typewriter, Jean Varda is a problem. How to portray a man who drives a two-toned pink car, sails a red, green, purple and chartreuse boat, paints pictures on the ‘chlorophylia of women’?Because Varda is all of this, an artist, and in a way a myth; but much more than this. The flamboyancy and the buoyancy just a part of a rare and generous human being.
Yanko Varda was indeed the great light of my life in the thirties.
[Varda’s] views on painting, centering on his great admiration of Picasso, were of fundamental importance to the development of my ideas and my work.