Renowned artist, critic, theorist and scholar, Fairfield Porter rose to become one of the most influential painters of the 20th century. Porter was born in Winnetka, Illinois. His father was a prominent architect and his mother was a poet. They gave him a childhood environment where art and literature were considered very important. Porter studied fine art at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA from 1924-1928 earning his Bachelor in Fine Arts and moved to New York City to continue his art education at the Arts Student League from 1928-1930. In both his writing and his painting, Porter’s work was felt more of the late 19th century classification than the 20th century.
Influenced by his favorite artist such as Willem de Kooning, Pierre Bonnard, and Edouard Vuillard, Porters work evolved into a realist and representational style vs. the Abstract Expressional which was gaining in popularity. As stated by Justin Wolf in the Art Story ‘In the role of art critic, Porter believed that the true purpose of art criticism was to accurately describe how something looked, which may lead to discovering some truth within the artwork.
Fairfield Porter’s writing, papers and records are now held at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C. At the time of his death a large portion of his Estate was left to the Parrish Art Museum. His art also included in the collections at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Whitney Museum, New York; and numerous others. Fairfield Porter passed away at the age of 68 in Southampton, New York.