Charles Ethan Porter: African-American Master of Still Life
Charles Ethan Porter (c. 1847-1923) is under-recognized today but was revered in his own time by well-known contemporaries such as Henry Ossawa Tanner and Edmonia Lewis, who worked in a more popular, figurative tradition. His paintings are masterpieces of American still-life tradition. Porter, who began painting in the aftermath of the Civil War and worked well into the twentieth century, was celebrated in his day as a skillful colorist and was one of the first black artists to exhibit at New York's National Academy of Design. This exhibition will feature dozens of Porter's still lifes, landscapes and portraits, and introduce audiences to this shadowy painter who deftly combined the American luminist tradition with that of the French Barbizon school. Accompanied by a new scholarly publication, the exhibition will elucidate Porter's skill and the unsettled biography of an artist whose brilliance is only now being inscribed into the annals of American art history.