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Ethan Porter

Charles Ethan Porter
Jan. 12 - March 16, 2008

Connecticut-born, African-American artist Charles Ethan Porter will be featured in a special exhibition of 51 paintings on view from Jan. 12-March 16, 2008 at the NBMAA.

Porter painted mainly flowers, insects, fruit, and landscapes -- subjects that became his signature. He was well-regarded among critics and the public, and his work caught the eye of Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) who introduced Porter and his work to influential circles both in the U.S. and abroad.

Curated by well-known scholar Hildegard Cummings, formerly on the staff of the Benton Museum at the University of Connecticut, the exhibition is the first major display of works by Porter since a 1987 exhibition at the Old State House in Hartford. It will travel to the Studio Museum in Harlem (April 1 - July 15, 2008) and to the North Carolina Central University Art Museum, Durham (Aug. 3 - Oct. 7, 2008).

Porter was born in the late 1840s in Rockville, Conn., a section of Vernon. In 1871, he was accepted into the prestigious National Academy of Design in New York, a school for exceptionally gifted artists. Porter taught art lessons to support himself through school. He then completed his studies in 1873 and opened a small studio in New York City. Living in the city was not easy, and like many African-Americans, Porter suffered the effects of prejudice; however, this did not deter his focus on his career in art, and he began to study with renowned artist Joseph Oriel Eaton.


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