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James A. Porter

Still Life with Peonies
1949
oil
40 x 30 1/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment and the Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program

The artist's wife, Dorothy Porter, fondly recalled the day this work was created in 1949, when she was honored as “Alma Mater” at Howard University's May Festival. For the occasion, she carried a large bouquet of peonies. Upon returning home, her husband quickly retrieved the flowers and arranged them near a stair landing and began painting.