Signed and dated (at lower right): Fairfield Porter 73 Fairfield Porter was one of the twentieth century’s most interesting, intelligent, and enigmatic artists. Porter painted this watercolor, “Apple Branch,” in 1973 during the last fifteen years of his life when he did his best work. During this period, his style became somewhat looser, and he incorporated more abstract forms and colors and recorded a freer and more immediate impression of his subjects. Running counter to the dominance of nonobjective art in the postwar period, Porter charted his own course as a figurative painter. Influenced by the intimist paintings of Édouard Vuillard, Porter recorded his immediate, sensual impressions of the world before him with a confident use of color and light. Porter’s work is imbued with a freshness and vitality similar to the abstract painters of his generation, many of whom were his friends. But his subjects were all drawn from his personal experience ─ scenes from his everyday life in Southampton, New York, and Penobscot Bay, Maine. These include landscapes, domestic interiors, and portraits of his family and his friends, among them the New York School authors John Ashbery, Frank O’Hara, and James Schuyler. Porter’s art and art criticism combine to form one of the most coherent and independent interpretations of art and art history that any American artist has ever advanced, and he stands today as one of the twentieth century’s most prescient art observers. Porter’s work is held in the collections of the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, NY; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art; among others. Porter did his best work during the last fifteen years of his life. His style loosened somewhat, and he incorporated more abstract forms and colors and recorded a freer and more immediate impression of his subjects. In his lifelong pursuit of realistic, non-abstract subjects, however, Porter was far ahead of his time, particularly in painting portraits of his family and friends, a genre that wasn’t taken seriously by the art world until years later. The estate of Fairfield Porter was represented by Hirschl & Adler for forty years before being disbanded in 2014.
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