Fairfield Porter, ‘The Christmas Tree ’, 1971, Andrea S. Keogh Art and Design

Fairfield Porter was one of the few realist painters working in the 1960’s and 70’s. The domesticity of French Post-Impressionist artists Eduoard Vuillard’s and Pierre Bonnard’s art provided inspiration for Porter. A Harvard educated WASP, Porter’s still life paintings and portraits of his family, circle of friends and homes on Long Island and on the coast of Maine are iconic. In the 1970’s there was a renaissance in print making that swept the American art scene and Fairfield Porter was an active participant. He produced numerous prints throughout his career. It is interesting to note the influence of both Vuillard and Bonnard who often worked in the print medium. The two French Post-Impressionist artists were inspired by Japanese prints that began appearing in Europe after the opening of Japan in 1853. The Christmas Tree depicts the view of Porter's Southampton, NY living room. Porter also created a watercolor titled Christmas Morning in 1971. Measuring 22 x 16, Christmas Morning must have been the inspiration for this larger lithograph.

Series: Edition of 100; 10 Artist's Proofs. Printed by Bank Street Atelier, Ltd. NY (BSA blind stamp, right lower margin).

Signature: signed (in pencil at lower right): Fairfield Porter and numbered (at lower left): 20/100

Publisher: Co-published by Brooke Alexander, Inc, NY and M. Knoedler & Co., Inc. NY

L.21 Ludman, Joan. Fairfield Porter: A Catalogue Raisonne of His Prints. Westbury, NY. Highland House Publishing, 1981. p. 97.

About Fairfield Porter

Fairfield Porter was at the forefront of post-war representational painters who struggled for recognition during the heyday of Abstract Expressionism. Although a realist in subject matter, Porter not only admired and championed the abstract work of his friend Willem de Kooning, but also himself gravitated to the inherent abstraction found in nature. He explored the subjective experience of landscape, figurative, and still life subjects in Southampton and Spruce Head Island, Maine. His flattened, unmodeled, soft-edged forms portrayed three-dimensional space with a gestural, lush brush stroke and patterned surface arrangement of forms. Porter drew inspiration from his domestic life, once noting to a student: “I think…that a strong religious feeling requires a strong sense of matter-of-fact.”

American, 1907-1975, Spruce Head Island, Maine

Group Shows

Santa Fe,
Selections of American Modernism
New York, NY, United States,
INsite/INchelsea: The Inaugural Exhibition
New York, NY, United States,
Eye Contact: Painting and Drawing in American Art
New York, NY, United States,
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery: The First Decade
New York, NY, United States,
On Paper: The Figure in Twentieth Century American Art
View Artist's CV