Fairfield Porter (1907-1975)
Property From A Distinguished New England Collector
Fairfield Porter (1907-1975)

Sun Rising Out of the Mist

Fairfield Porter (1907-1975)
Sun Rising Out of the Mist
signed and dated 'Fairfield Porter 73' (lower left)
oil on canvas
55 x 37 in. (139.7 x 94 cm.)
Painted in 1973.
[With]Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., New York.
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1977.
The Cleveland Museum of Art, "Fairfield Porter (1907-1975): Realist Painter in an Age of Abstraction," News and Calendar, 1983, p. 3, illustrated.
J. Updike, Just Looking: Essays on Art, New York, 1989, p. 119.
J. Ludman, Fairfield Porter: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Watercolors, and Pastels, New York, 2001, p. 298, no. L871.
New York, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., Recent Work by Fairfield Porter, March 2-23, 1974, no. 35.
Kalamazoo, Michigan, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Fifty Works for the Permanent Collection: A Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition, May 3-June 2, 1974.
Huntington, New York, Heckscher Museum; Flushing, New York, Queens Museum; Montclair, New Jersey, Montclair Art Museum, Fairfield Porter Retrospective Exhibition, December 15, 1974-April 27, 1975, pp. 3, 40, no. 9, illustrated.
Boston, Massachusetts, Museum of Fine Arts; Greenville, South Carolina, Greenville County Museum of Art; Cleveland, Ohio, The Cleveland Museum of Art; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carnegie Institute; New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Fairfield Porter: Realist Painter in an Age of Abstraction, January 12, 1983-July 22, 1984, pp. 80, 106, no. 104, illustrated.

Lot Essay

In many of his late landscapes, Fairfield Porter moved further toward an abstract aesthetic, reducing and simplifying forms so that what remained was a pure representation of his surroundings. In Sun Rising Out of the Mist, the understated palette of purple, blue, grey and white, perhaps best reflects this abstraction of his environment, and his interest in exploring the line “between a reaction to natural light and a search for invented color.” (K. Moffett, “The Art of Fairfield Porter,” in Fairfield Porter: Realist Painter in an Age of Abstraction, exhibition catalogue, Boston, 1982, p. 38)

Despite Porter’s move toward minimalism in the present work, the definitive qualities of his overall style remain. Porter’s handling of light, for example, seen most visibly in his rendering of the sun, demonstrates his mastery of technique, with the misty rays of the flat, white circle emanating out toward the crashing waves below. Porter’s prominent representation of the sun was a common motif of the artist’s late paintings. Works like Yellow Sunrise (Private collection, 1974), and the watercolor Large Calm Sunset (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California, circa 1975) contain bold, radiating suns, a subject that Porter was not alone in depicting. Other American Modernists, including Arthur Dove and Georgia O’Keeffe, also represented the sun in important series of works, and Porter was likely influenced by their interpretations of this fundamental form of nature.

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