Skip to content
Fairfield Porter

Eight small oil studies exemplify the urbane nonchalance of this American painter, who was also an influential art critic. Made near the end of his life, while Porter was teaching at Amherst College (he died in 1975, at the age of sixty-eight), the canvases concisely capture his New England environs. A vista of trees, quietly resplendent in their fall foliage, and a wintry scene of the college grounds are fully articulated; by contrast, one untitled work, identified as a “view of large green tree,” is a blur of speedy gestures, as if observed from a car window. (Porter held tight to representational painting during the height of Abstract Expressionism, but he wasn’t immune to the movement’s appeal.) This compact show also includes several spidery preparatory drawings—nothing to write home about—and an earlier, much larger portrait, “Jerry,” from 1955. Set at a breakfast table, it depicts the artist’s blasé teen-age son, dressed neatly for school but still in his slippers.

— Johanna Fateman