John Wilmerding, Karen Wilkin
The first comprehensive survey of the beloved figurative realist painter Fairfield Porter to be published in more than two decades. A figurative realist in the heyday of abstract expressionism, Fairfield Porter (1907-1975) painted himself, his family, and friends in New York City, in Southampton, Long Island, and on an island off the Maine coast, all depicting a relaxed and comfortable world that seemed to mirror his own affluent, well-connected existence. With virtually all of the artist’s previous publications now out of print, this much-anticipated volume is an important addition to the literature on this great American master. Porter graduated from Harvard in 1928 and then studied at the Art Students League in New York with Thomas Hart Benton. Along with months in Maine, Porter lived in New York and from 1948 on, in Southampton where he purchased a large, late Federal-style house for his own expanding family. Porter painted several artist friends, including Elaine de Kooning, Larry Rivers, and Jane Freilicher. He was also close to the modern poets John Ashbery, Frank O’Hara, and James Schuyler. With a carefully curated selection of the artist’s best works, John Wilmerding, a specialist in American art, gives full consideration to Porter’s expressive compositions and a color palette influenced by his coastal surroundings. Karen Wilkin discusses Porter’s influences and pictorial creativity. Distinguished poet J. D. McClatchy writes a reflection on one of Porter’s paintings.