I

Narratives of African American Art and Identity

Charles Ethan Porter

Untitled (Still Life: Mums in a Bowl) , n.d.

Oil on canvas

11.75" x 19.5"


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Untitled

The Driskell Collection's Untitled (Still Life: Mums in a Bowl) has been attributed to Hartford, Connecticut, still-life artist Charles Ethan Porter. Like other black artists of his time, Porter followed the European aesthetic tradition as it was the standard for commercial success. Thus he became one of an elite group of African Americans in the late nineteenth century who were able to make their living as professional artists. The Driskell Collection still life features chrysanthemums, a type of flower Porter often revisited. Although still life was considered a lesser genre in the sense of the European hierarchy of painting, it was an important aesthetic aspect of the Victorian domestic interior and would have been found in households across racial lines in America.   A. L. C.

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