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Charles Ethan Porter
African-American Master of Still Life
Cummings, Hildegard; Barr, Pamela, ed.; Hyland, Douglas, fwd.

New Britain Museum
2008 • 112 pp. 64 illus. (45 color) 9 1/2 x 11"
American Art

$35.00 Paperback, 978-0-9724497-6-2

“Of all the notable artists who have lived and worked in Connecticut over the years, few of the most deserving have received less public recognition... [continued in Reviews below]”—Antiques and the Arts Weekly

The first study of the artistry of a noted African-American painter

This full color catalogue celebrates the works of Connecticut-born, African-American artist Charles Ethan Porter that documents a special exhibition of fifty-two paintings. Written by well-known scholar Hildegard Cummings, the catalogue documents the first major display of works by Porter. Porter painted mainly portraits, flowers, insects, fruit, and landscapes—subjects that became his signature style. He was well-regarded among critics and the public, and his work caught the eye of Samuel Clemens who introduced Porter and his work to influential circles both in the U.S. and abroad.

Charles Ethan Porter was born in the late 1840s in Rockville, Connecticut. In 1871, he was accepted into the prestigious National Academy of Design in New York. He gave art lessons to support himself through school, then eventually opened a small studio in New York City. In the late 1870s, Porter moved back to Hartford, and his work began showing up in local exhibitions and art galleries. At this time he produced some of his better-known paintings. Porter died in 1923 having moved back to Rockville.

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Reviews / Endorsements

Of all the notable artists who have lived and worked in Connecticut over the years, few of the most deserving have received less public recognition than Charles Ethan Porter (1847-1923). An academically trained African American painter, championed by Frederic Church and Mark Twain and admired by other influential figures, he overcame perpetual obstacles of poverty, prejudice and
the notion that blacks were incapable of making art of lasting importance . . .
In recent years, with the surge of scholarship about African American art, there has been renewed interest in Porter and his oeuvre, culminating in a welcome and rewarding exhibition at the New Britain Museum of American Art, "Charles Ethan Porter: African-American Master of Still Life," on view through March
Antiques and the Arts Weekly

"Porter's work of the 1880s reveals rich, subtle color and sensitive brushwork as well as a wonderful sense of composition and visual balance . . . Porter's compositions are masterly."—Magazine Antiques

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 12:54:41 -0500