The work of Fairfield Porter defies classification partially due to its directness and seeming simplicity, which ma ks an undercurrent of complexity and mystery-even ambiguity. The term "American Realist Painter," so often attached to Porter's name, only adds to this difficulty in that the context of Porter's development as an artist was a setting of varied styles and influence . Even among the artist of the past that Porter admired-Velazquez, Rubens, and Vuillard, to name a few-variation is prominent. Much ha been said about Porter's initial stance a a maturing artist in the I 940s and '50s as being au rebours, or against the grain. As a representational artist, hi work seemed to defy the then-prevalent critical focus of painting, Ab tract Expressionism in particular. In a 1952 correspondence with Lawrence Campbell, however, Porter listed Willem de Kooning, the leading practitioner of that movement, among his influence.
(1995). Figuration/Abstraction: Fairfield Porter/Willem de Koonig. .