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Fairfield Porter papers

Creator:
Porter, Fairfield  Search this
Names:
Hirschl & Adler Galleries  Search this
Tibor de Nagy Gallery  Search this
Brainard, Joe, 1942-  Search this
Burkhardt, Rudy  Search this
Button, John, 1929-1982  Search this
Day, Lucien B., 1916-  Search this
Downes, Rackstraw  Search this
Elmslie, Kenward  Search this
Evergood, Philip, 1901-1973  Search this
Frielicher, Jane  Search this
Giardelli, Arthur  Search this
Guest, Barbara  Search this
Hartl, Léon, 1889-  Search this
Hess, Thomas B.  Search this
Katz, Alex, 1927-  Search this
Koch, Kenneth, 1925-  Search this
Laning, Edward  Search this
Lichtenstein, Roy, 1923-1997  Search this
Morse, Carl  Search this
Myers, John Bernard  Search this
O'Hara, Frank, 1926-1966  Search this
Padgett, Ron  Search this
Porter, Ruth W., 1875-1942  Search this
Rivers, Larry, 1925-  Search this
Schloss, Edith  Search this
Schuyler, James  Search this
Shapiro, David, 1947-  Search this
Stankiewicz, Richard, 1922-  Search this
Vasilieff, Nicholas  Search this
Extent:
9.3 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Travel diaries
Sketches
Sketchbooks
Photographs
Date:
1888-2001
bulk 1924-1975
Summary:
The papers of New York-based painter, lithographer, art critic, and poet Fairfield Porter measure 9.3 linear feet and date from 1888 to 2001, with the bulk of material dating from 1924 to 1975. Papers document Porter's life and career through correspondence, writings, business records, printed materials, photographs, and artwork.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of New York-based painter, lithographer, art critic, and poet Fairfield Porter measure 9.3 linear feet and date from 1888 to 2001, with the bulk of material dating from 1924 to 1975. The collection includes a biographical chronology; certificates, awards, and diplomas; letters to Fairfield and Anne Porter; scattered outgoing correspondence; and reviews, essays, notes, poems, and translations written by Porter and others. Among the writings are poetry manuscripts written by several New York School Poets including Frank O'Hara, James Schuyler, and Kenneth Koch. Also found are gallery records, inventories and appraisals, financial records, exhibition catalogs, clippings, posters, and records of Anne Porter's efforts to place his collection and document and publish his work after his death. Photographs of Porter, his homes, and his family are also present, as well as sketchbooks, loose sketches, and drawings spanning his entire career.

Significant correspondence is present from the Porters' many poet friends, including Kenneth Koch, James Schuyler, Ron Padgett, Kenward Elmslie, Barbara Guest, Carl Morse, David Shapiro, and others. Among the letters are poetry manuscripts by Koch, Morse, Schuyler, Padgett, and Shapiro. Some letters are actually written in verse, especially those from Kenneth Koch.

Artists with letters in the collection include Joe Brainard, Rudy Burkhardt, John Button, Lucien Day, Rackstraw Downes, Philip Evergood, Jane Frielicher, Arthur Giardelli, Leon Hartl, Alex Katz, Edward Laning, Roy Lichtenstein, Larry Rivers, Richard Stankiewicz, Nicolas Vasilieff, among others. Other art world figures represented include John Bernard Myers, curator at the Tibor de Nagy gallery (New York), and Tom Hess, editor of ArtNews. Artwork found within the correspondence includes an illustrated letter from Ron Padgett and an original print on a holiday card by Edith Schloss.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into the following nine series. See the series descriptions below for more information about the content of each series.

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1916-1975 (Box 1 and 11; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1918-1996 (Boxes 1-2; 1.2 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings by Fairfield Porter, 1924-1975 (Box 2; 0.6)

Series 4: Writings by Others, 1888-1992 (Boxes 2-3; 0.7 linear feet)

Series 5: Personal Business Records, 1944-1996 (Boxes 3-4; 1 linear foot)

Series 6: Anne Porter's Posthumous Projects, 1980-1988 (Box 4; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 7: Printed Materials, 1934-2001 (Boxes 4-6 and 11; 1.5 linear feet)

Series 8: Photographs, circa 1880-1990 (Boxes 6 and 11; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 9: Artwork, 1918-1975 (Boxes 7-10 and 12-17; 2.2 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Fairfield Porter was born near Chicago in 1907, the fourth of five children of James and Ruth Furness Porter. His father was an architect, his mother a poet from a literary family, and Porter grew up in an environment where art and literature were highly valued. His father designed the family homes in Winnetka, Illinois and on Great Spruce Head Island, an island in Maine that he purchased for the family in 1912. Fairfield Porter spent summers there from the age of six, and views of the island, its structures, and neighboring towns were the subjects of many paintings.

Porter attended Harvard from 1924 to 1928, studying fine art with Arthur Pope and philosophy with Alfred North Whitehead. After graduating from Harvard, Porter moved to New York City and took studio classes at the Art Students League from 1928 until 1930, studying with Boardman Robinson and Thomas Hart Benton, and immersing himself in the art and radical politics of Greenwich Village. In the 1940s, he studied at Parson's School of Design with art restorer Jacques Maroger, adopting the Maroger recipe for an oil medium in his own painting.

To further his education as an artist, Porter traveled to Europe in 1931, where he spent time with expatriate art theorist Bernard Berenson and his circle. When he returned to New York, he allied himself with progressive, socialist organizations, and like many of his contemporaries, worked at creating socially relevant art. He did artwork for the John Reed Club, a communist group; taught drawing classes for Rebel Arts, a socialist arts organization; wrote for their magazine, Arise!; and created a mural for the Queens branch of the Socialist Party. Living in the Chicago area for several years in the 1930s, he illustrated chapbooks for the socialist poet John Wheelwright's Poems for a Dime and Poems for Two Bits series. Porter's financial contributions to the radical Chicago publication Living Marxism kept it afloat for several years.

In 1932, Porter married Anne Channing, a poet from Boston, and they settled in New York. The Porters had five children, and their first son, born in 1934, suffered from a severe form of autism. In the next decade, they had two more sons, and spent three years in Porter's hometown of Winnetka, where he had his first solo exhibition of paintings. When they returned to New York in 1939, the Porters became friends with Edwin Denby, Rudy Burkhardt, and Elaine and Willem de Kooning. Porter became an earnest admirer of Willem de Kooning's artwork and was among the first to review and purchase it.

In 1949, the Porters moved to the small, seaside town of Southampton, New York. Their two daughters were born in 1950 and 1956. Like the family home on Great Spruce Head Island, Southampton became the setting of many of Porter's paintings. In fact, almost all of his mature paintings depict family homes, surrounding landscapes, family members, and friends. Porter was an individualistic painter who embraced figurative art in the late 1940s and 1950s, when abstract expressionism was the prevailing aesthetic trend. Porter once made a comment that his commitment to figurative painting was made just to spite art critic Clement Greenberg, a respected critic and ideologue who had championed abstract expressionism and denigrated realism as passé.

Porter established his reputation as a painter and as a writer in the 1950s. John Bernard Myers of the vanguard Tibor de Nagy gallery gave Porter his first New York exhibition in 1951 and represented him for the next twenty years. That same year Tom Hess, editor of ArtNews, hired Porter to write art features and reviews. Porter went on to contribute to ArtNews until 1967 and also became art editor for The Nation beginning in 1959, the same year his article on Willem de Kooning won the Longview Foundation Award in art criticism. As a critic, Porter visited countless galleries and studios, and he gained a reputation for writing about art with the understanding and vested interest of an artist, and with the same independence from fashionable ideas that he demonstrated in his artwork.

The 1950s and 1960s were prolific years for Porter's writing and art, and saw the development of his critical ideas and the maturation of his painting. Porter enjoyed an elder status among a circle of younger artists such as Jane Freilicher, Larry Rivers, and Alex Katz, and their many poet friends, now known as the New York School of Poetry: Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery, James Schuyler, Kenneth Koch, Barbara Guest, and others. Porter himself wrote poetry and was published in the 1950s, sometimes alongside poems by his wife, who had been publishing poetry since the 1930s (twice in the vanguard Chicago journal, Poetry). The Porters' correspondence is laced with poems they and their friends sent back and forth, often about and dedicated to each other.

Besides his annual exhibitions at Tibor de Nagy and later Hirschl and Adler Galleries, Porter exhibited regularly at the Whitney, and had one-man exhibitions at many museums including the Rhode Island School of Design (1959), The University of Alabama (1963), Cleveland Museum of Art (his first retrospective, 1966), Trinity College (1967), the Parrish Art Museum (1971), the Maryland Institute of Art (1973), and the 1968 Venice Biennale. He also had residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (1964) and Amherst College (1969). Porter died in 1975 at age 68. A full-scale retrospective of his artwork was held at the Boston Museum of Fine Art, Boston in 1983, and a study center and permanent home for his artwork was established at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton through a donation made by Anne Porter. A posthumous collection of his poems was published by Tibor de Nagy Editions in 1985, and a catalogue raisonnée, edited by Joan Ludman, was published in 2001.

This biography relies heavily on information found in Justin Spring's biography of Porter, Fairfield Porter: A Life in Art (Yale University Press, 2000).
Related Material:
The Archives of American Art holds an oral history of Fairfield Porter conducted by Paul Cummings in 1968.
Provenance:
The papers of Fairfield Porter were given to the Archives of American Art by the artist's wife, Anne Porter, in five separate accessions between 1977 and 1997.
Restrictions:
The bulk of this collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website. Use of material not digitized requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Fairfield Porter papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Works of art  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- Southampton  Search this
Art critics -- New York (State) -- Southampton  Search this
Painting, Modern -- 20th century  Search this
Poets  Search this
Lithographers -- New York (State)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Travel diaries
Sketches
Sketchbooks
Photographs
Citation:
Fairfield Porter papers, 1888-2001 (bulk 1924-1975). Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.portfair
See more items in:
Fairfield Porter papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-portfair
Additional Online Media:

Stephen Antonakos, new works/1982 / October 10, 1982-January 9, 1983, Nassau County Museum of Fine Art, Roslyn Harbor, New York

Author:
Antonakos, Stephen 1926-2013  Search this
Shapiro, David 1947-  Search this
Nassau County Museum of Fine Art (N.Y.)  Search this
Subject:
Antonakos, Stephen 1926-2013  Search this
Physical description:
[40] pages : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Type:
Interviews
Exhibitions
Exhibition catalogs
Place:
United States
Date:
1982
©1982
Topic:
Sculptors  Search this
Call number:
N40.1.A63 S5
N40.1.A63S5
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_187637

Family line : drawings and paintings by Anne Harvey, Jason Harvey, and Steven Harvey / essays by Henry Lessore, Jennifer Samet, David Shapiro

Author:
Harvey, Steven O'L  Search this
Harvey, Anne 1916-1967  Search this
Harvey, Jason 1919-1982  Search this
Lessore, Henry  Search this
Samet, Jennifer  Search this
Shapiro, David 1947-  Search this
New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture  Search this
Subject:
Harvey, Anne 1916-1967  Search this
Harvey, Jason 1919-1982  Search this
Harvey, Steven O'L  Search this
Physical description:
35 p. : ill. ; 21 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
2002
C2002
20th century
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Call number:
N6512 .F27 2002
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_807138

Cy Twombly, Coronation of Sesostris / essay by David Shapiro ; [editor, Donald Kennison]

Title:
Coronation of Sesostris
Author:
Twombly, Cy 1928-2011  Search this
Shapiro, David 1947-  Search this
Kennison, Donald  Search this
Waters, Patricia  Search this
Gagosian Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Twombly, Cy 1928-2011  Search this
Twombly, Cy 1928-2011 Coronation of Sesostris  Search this
Physical description:
29 p., 10 p. of plates (some folded) : ill. (some col.) ; 34 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2000
C2000
Call number:
N6537.T96 A4 2000
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_770114

Paul Resika : recent paintings / essay by David Shapiro

Title:
Recent paintings
Author:
Resika, Paul  Search this
Shapiro, David 1947-  Search this
Salander-O'Reilly Galleries  Search this
Subject:
Resika, Paul  Search this
Physical description:
1 v. (unpaged) : chiefly col. ill. ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2001
C2001
Call number:
ND237.R37 A4 2001
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_614050

Barry Ledoux / [essays by David Shapiro and Cynthia Nadelman]

Author:
Ledoux, Barry 1949-  Search this
Shapiro, David 1947-  Search this
Nadelman, Cynthia  Search this
Subject:
Ledoux, Barry 1949-  Search this
Physical description:
1 v . (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 26 cm
Type:
Books
Catalogs
Date:
2000
[2000?]
Call number:
NB237.L345 A4 2000
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_621605

Jim Dine : an exhibition of recent figure drawings, 1978-1980

Author:
Dine, Jim 1935-  Search this
Shapiro, David 1947-  Search this
Richard Gray Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Dine, Jim 1935-  Search this
Physical description:
[16] p. : chiefly ill. (some col.) ; 22 x 27 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
1981
[1981]
Topic:
Figure drawing  Search this
Call number:
NC139.D56 A4 1981
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_639383

Michel Gérard : forged steel sculpture, handmade paper

Author:
Gérard, Michel 1938-  Search this
Shapiro, David 1947-  Search this
Max Hutchinson Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Subject:
Gérard, Michel 1938-  Search this
Physical description:
[12] p. : ill. ; 22 x 28 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
1982
1982]
Call number:
NB553.G38 A4 1982
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_641081

Uncontrollable beauty : toward a new aesthetics / edited by Bill Beckley with David Shapiro

Author:
Beckley, Bill 1946-  Search this
Shapiro, David 1947-  Search this
Physical description:
xxiv, 423 p. ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1998
C1998
20th century
Topic:
Aesthetics, Modern  Search this
Art criticism  Search this
Call number:
BH201 .U53 1998
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_649153

The drawings of Richard Upton : Ireland and Italy / David Shapiro ; afterward [sic] by Robert Boyers

Title:
Richard Upton
Author:
Shapiro, David 1947-  Search this
Upton, Richard  Search this
Sordoni Art Gallery  Search this
List Gallery  Search this
Ben Shahn Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Upton, Richard Exhibitions  Search this
Physical description:
56 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 22 x 25 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1997
C1997
Call number:
NC139.U68 A4 1997
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_658378

Bill Beckley / [text by David Shapiro]

Author:
Beckley, Bill 1946-  Search this
Shapiro, David 1947-  Search this
Subject:
Beckley, Bill 1946-  Search this
Physical description:
77 p. : chiefly ill. (part col.) ; 28 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1994
[1994]
Topic:
Assemblage (Art)  Search this
Photography, Artistic  Search this
Call number:
N40.1.B3887 G35 1994
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_699113

The drawings of Richard Upton : Ireland and Italy / David Shapiro ; afterward [sic] by Robert Boyers

Author:
Shapiro, David 1947-  Search this
Upton, Richard  Search this
Sordoni Art Gallery  Search this
List Gallery  Search this
Ben Shahn Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Upton, Richard Exhibitions  Search this
Physical description:
56 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 23 x 25 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Place:
Ireland
Cortona (Italy)
Date:
1997
C1997
Topic:
In art  Search this
Exhibitions  Search this
Call number:
N40.1.U71x S53 1997
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_540660

Moving 1977 : a catalogue documenting Moving, a two-part exhibition, which took place at the Hal Bromm Gallery, New York, during October and November, 1977

Author:
Shapiro, David 1947-  Search this
Hal Bromm Gallery  Search this
Physical description:
53 p. : ill. ; 28 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
1978
C1978
20th century
Topic:
Art, Modern  Search this
Conceptual art  Search this
Movement, Aesthetics of  Search this
Motion in art  Search this
Call number:
N6490 .M93 1978
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_473729

Jasper Johns drawings, 1954-1984 / text by David Shapiro ; project director, David Whitney ; editor, Christopher Sweet

Author:
Shapiro, David 1947-  Search this
Johns, Jasper 1930-  Search this
Subject:
Johns, Jasper 1930-  Search this
Physical description:
211 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 31 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1984
Call number:
N40.1.J66x S5
N40.1.J66xS5
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_251543

Poets & painters : Denver Art Museum, November 21, 1979-January 13, 1980 / organized by Dianne Perry Vanderlip ; essays by David Shapiro

Title:
Poets and painters
Author:
Vanderlip, Dianne Perry  Search this
Shapiro, David 1947-  Search this
Denver Art Museum  Search this
Physical description:
80 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 23 x 26 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Bibliography
Place:
United States
Date:
1979
C1979
20th century
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
American literature  Search this
Art and literature  Search this
Call number:
N6512 .P58X
N6512.P58X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_130120

Jim Dine : painting what one is / text by David Shapiro

Author:
Shapiro, David 1947-  Search this
Dine, Jim 1935-  Search this
Subject:
Dine, Jim 1935-  Search this
Physical description:
222 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 28 x 30 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1981
Call number:
N40.1.D583 S5
N40.1.D583S5
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_139016

Artistic collaboration in the twentieth century / Cynthia Jaffee McCabe ; with essays by Robert C. Hobbs and David Shapiro

Author:
McCabe, Cynthia Jaffee  Search this
Hobbs, Robert Carleton 1946-  Search this
Shapiro, David 1947-  Search this
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden  Search this
Milwaukee Art Museum  Search this
J.B. Speed Art Museum  Search this
Physical description:
224 p. : ill. ; 23 x 28 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
Europe
United States
Date:
1984
20th century
Topic:
Group work in art--Exhibitions  Search this
Avant-garde (Aesthetics)--History  Search this
Call number:
N6758.M36 1984X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_194397

Keith Haring / text, Robert Pincus-Witten, Jeffrey Deitch, David Shapiro ; design, Dan Friedman

Author:
Haring, Keith  Search this
Pincus-Witten, Robert  Search this
Deitch, Jeffrey  Search this
Shapiro, David 1947-  Search this
Tony Shafrazi Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Haring, Keith  Search this
Physical description:
111, [34] p. : ill. (some col.) ; 23 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1982
C1982
Topic:
Subways  Search this
Call number:
N40.1.H267 T6
N40.1.H267T6
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_198541

Lynda Benglis : works in glass : Margo Leavin Gallery, 16 February-23 March 1985 / [catalogue essay and poem by David Shapiro]

Author:
Benglis, Lynda 1941-  Search this
Shapiro, David 1947-  Search this
Margo Leavin Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Benglis, Lynda 1941-  Search this
Physical description:
1 folded sheet, [10] p. : col. ill. ; 19 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
1985
20th century
Topic:
Art, Modern  Search this
Sculpture, Modern  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1005668

The school of night : drawings / Arturo Rodríguez

Artist:
Rodríguez, Arturo 1956-  Search this
Contributor:
Anreus, Alejandro  Search this
García Vega, Lorenzo  Search this
Kozer, José  Search this
Reynaldo, Andrés  Search this
Serrano, Pío E. 1941-  Search this
Shapiro, David 1947-  Search this
Ymayo Tartakoff, Laura 1954-  Search this
Villaverde, Fernando 1938-  Search this
Weber, Bruce  Search this
Translator:
Larios, Francisco  Search this
Foreword author:
Badajoz, Joaquín  Search this
Introduction author:
Moya, Jorge  Search this
Physical description:
131 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Type:
In art
Poetry
Date:
2014
21st century
Topic:
Drawing  Search this
Cuban poetry  Search this
American poetry  Search this
Insomnia  Search this
Night in art  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1068049

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