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Still Life with Peonies

1949 James A. Porter Born: Baltimore, Maryland 1905 Died: Washington, District of Columbia 1970 oil on canvas 40 x 30 1/8 in. (101.6 x 76.5 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment and the Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program 1994.59 Not currently on view


Exhibition Label

The softly brushed lines and gently calibrated color of Still Life with Peonies reflects Porter’s thinking about the confluence of the personal and the contextual in the practice of art. The exuberant vase of flowers negotiates with (and against) the vertical rungs and curved handrail. The simple screen and striped wallpaper serve as counterpoints to the energy of the peonies’ petals. Presented as the primary focus of the composition, Porter depicted the flowers carried by his wife, Dorothy, when she was honored at Howard University in 1947, while the painting-within-a-painting represents a canvas Porter completed during a research trip to Cuba and Haiti.


African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, 2012

Keywords

Still life - art object - painting

Still life - flower - peony

Still life - furniture - screen

Still life - furniture - table

Still life - other - vase

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About James A. Porter

Born: Baltimore, Maryland 1905 Died: Washington, District of Columbia 1970

More works in the collection by
James A. Porter