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PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF ANN AND GRAHAM GUND

Fairfield Porter
1907 - 1975
THE CLIFFS OF ISLE AU HAUT
Estimate
600,000800,000
LOT SOLD. 665,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
34

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF ANN AND GRAHAM GUND

Fairfield Porter
1907 - 1975
THE CLIFFS OF ISLE AU HAUT
Estimate
600,000800,000
LOT SOLD. 665,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

American Art

|
New York

Fairfield Porter
1907 - 1975
THE CLIFFS OF ISLE AU HAUT
signed Fairfield Porter and dated 74 (lower right); also signed Fairfield Porter and titled The Cliffs of Isle au Haut on the stretcher
oil on canvas
72 by 62 inches
(182.9 by 157.5 cm)
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York
Alpha Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1977

Exhibited

Washington, D.C., The Corcoran Gallery of Art; Hartford, Connecticut, Wadsworth Athenaeum; Cambridge, Massachusetts, Fogg Art Museum; Boston, Massachusetts, Institute of Contemporary Art; Minneapolis, Minnesota, Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Milwaukee Art Center; Fort Worth, Texas, Fort Worth Art Museum; San Francisco, California, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Atlanta, Georgia, High Museum of Art; Brooklyn, New York, The Brooklyn Museum, America 1976, April 1976-May 1978, no. 64, pp. 8, 10, 64, illustrated in color p. 82
Boston, Massachusetts, Museum of Fine Arts, A Private Vision: Contemporary Art from the Graham Gund Collection, 1982, illustrated in color p. 24
Boston, Massachusetts, Museum of Fine Arts, Fairfield Porter: Realist Painter in an Age of Abstraction, January-March 1983, no. 110, p. 106
Rockport, Maine, Maine Coast Artists; Presque Isle, Maine, University of Maine, On the Edge: Forty Years of Maine Painting, August-December 1992
Boston, Massachusetts, Museum of Fine Arts, Reflections of Monet, September 1998-January 1999
Portland, Maine, Portland Museum of Art, Fairfield Porter: A Life in Art, 1907-1975, June-September 2003

Literature

Kay Larson, Painting the Public Lands," ArtNews, January 1976, p. 36, illustrated
Joan Ludman, Fairfield Porter: A Catalogue Raisonné of His Prints, New York, 1981, p. 132
John Bernard Myers“Fairfield Porter: Poet of the Commonplace,” Portfolio, January-February 1983, p. 57
John Updike, Just Looking: Essays on Art, New York, 1989, p. 123, illustrated in color
Joan Ludman, “Checklist of Paintings by Fairfield Porter,” Fairfield Porter: An American Classic, New York, 1992, p. 305
Joan Ludman, Fairfield Porter: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Watercolors, and Pastels, New York, 2001, no. L888, p. 302
Terry Teachout, "Inspiration Point-Retracing Fairfield Porter's Footsteps in Maine," The Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2003, illustrated in color
Carl Little and Arnold Skolnick, Paintings of Maine, Camden, Maine, 2006, illustrated in color

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1974, The Cliffs of Isle au Haut was commissioned by the United States Department of the Interior as part of the 1976 bicentennial celebration of the United States. Porter celebrates the natural beauty of the country in the present work, placing the viewer on a promontory over a majestic Maine vista. Displaying little of the effort the artist undoubtedly exerted to reach this remote spot on the secluded island, the viewer is presented with a location that is rugged and rough, and simultaneously expansive and intimate. Porter renders an evergreen rimmed cove in abstract shaped pools of pink, gray, tan, green and black pigment. A lone lobster boat moves through the center of the cove, and off to the right, seemingly with a flash of movement, two children’s heads bob through the camouflage of the lichen covered rocks. The presence of these figures allows the work to transcend pure landscape, and provides a brief insight into the artist’s world during the time he lived and worked in this environment.

Isle au Haut lies a short boat ride from Great Spruce Head Island, the small island in Penobscot Bay, Maine that the artist’s father James bought in 1913. From then until his death in 1975, Porter rarely missed a summer’s visit to the beautiful yet isolated retreat, where little changed over the years—the family never installed a telephone and the only source of news came by boat from the mainland. The tranquility of the island and this region of Maine provided Porter ample time to paint, allowing him to create a substantial body of work that reflects his deep personal connection to the Maine landscape. Porter painted this particular cove many times during his career in both oil and watercolor, providing the opportunity to observe his evolution as an artist and his skill with various media. The artist also made a lithograph of the same title after the present work.

American Art

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New York