A Finding Aid to the Joan Ludman papers relating to Fairfield Porter,
circa 1910-2003, bulk 1976-2001, in the Archives of American Art, by Catherine S. Gaines
Table of Contents:
- Biographical Information
- Overview of the Collection
- How to Use the Collection
- Detailed Description and Container Inventory
Joan Ludman, an art historian with expertise in prints, developed a deep interest in the work of Fairfield Porter while living in Westbury, Long Island. She compiled and published a catalogue raisonné of Porter's prints in 1981, and another of his paintings, watercolors, and pastels in 2001. Now retired, Mrs. Ludman lives in Florida.
By the early 1970s, Joan Ludman had amassed a sizeable amount of information about Fairfield Porter and considered writing a biography. Instead, with the help of Anne Porter, the artist's widow, she began researching Porter's prints. The result was Fairfield Porter: A Catalogue Raisonné of his Prints. It was published by Highland House Publishers, Inc., a company established by Mrs. Ludman in order to assure her own standards and control the book's quality and cost.
At the same time she was compiling the catalogue raisonné of Porter's prints, Ludman was collaborating with Lauris Mason on other projects - a catalogue raisonné of George Bellow's lithographs, an anthology of essays, and five selected bibliographies about prints and printmaking. She also organized "Prints from Fairfield Porter from the Lauris and Daniel J. Mason Collection," an exhibition that traveled to several venues in 1982 and 1983.
The Estate of Fairfield Porter donated a substantial number of paintings to the Parrish Art Museum in 1979. The museum agreed to publish a catalogue raisonné, and arrangements were formalized the following year. Twice during the early 1980s, art historians who committed to writing the monograph lost interest. The project languished due to administrative problems and the discouragingly high cost of publishing such a volume. By 1988, it was apparent that the museum could not comply with the agreement. Knowing Joan Ludman's work on the catalogue raisonné of Porter's prints, Mrs. Porter approached her about the catalogue raisonné of his paintings. The highly regarded Fairfield Porter: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Watercolors, and Pastels was published by Hudson Hills Press, Inc.
Painter Fairfield Porter (1907-1975) was known for portraits, landscapes, and still life paintings. Also a critic and writer, Porter was an editorial associate with Art News in the 1950's, wrote for The Nation, published poetry, and a monograph on Thomas Eakins.
Overview of the Collection
Scope and Contents
The Joan Ludman papers relating to Fairfield Porter measure 3.4 linear feet and are dated circa 1910-2003, bulk 1976-2001. The papers primarily document her research for Fairfield Porter: A Catalogue Raisonné of his Prints (1981) and Fairfield Porter: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Watercolors, and Pastels (2001). There are records concerning "Prints by Fairfield Porter from the Lauris and Daniel J. Mason Collection," a traveling exhibition organized by Ludman. Also found are Ludman's records concerning her authentications of Porter's artwork, and general printed material about Porter. Photographs are of Porter and his work.
The compilation of Fairfield Porter: A Catalogue Raisonné of his Prints and its publication are documented by a variety of records. Research correspondence includes photocopies of Porter's letters from the 1930s to John Wheelwright about linoleum cuts he made for the Socialist publication Poems for a Dime. Letters from Anne Porter concerning the catalogue raisonné are among the miscellaneous correspondence. Also found is a "Log of the Work in Progress on Research and Interviews…" kept by Ludman, along with notes and transcripts of interviews conducted during the course of her research. Printed material concerns Porter's prints, and photographs include those reproduced in the catalogue raisonné.
Ludman's work on Fairfield Porter: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Watercolors, and Pastels is documented by correspondence, a "master index," writings, printed material and photographs. Among the correspondence are questionnaires completed by owners of Porter paintings. Correspondence with Anne Porter includes typed excerpts from letters, 1922-1938, that mention her husband's painting activities. A "master index" summarizing Ludman's research is found among the writings. Printed material mentions or reproduces paintings by Fairfield Porter. Photographs include the images reproduced in the book; there are also snapshots of some early paintings, among them unidentified and unrecorded works.
Exhibition records document "Prints by Fairfield Porter from the Lauris and Daniel J. Mason Collection," a show organized by Joan Ludman that traveled in 1982 and 1983 under the auspices of the Gallery Association of New York State. Printed material provides general background information about Porter and his work. Also found are an article and book review by Fairfield Porter, along with printed material concerning members of his family and a map of Great Spruce Head Island, Maine.
Authentication records consist of letters conveying Mrs. Ludman's opinions about works purported to be by Porter. The majority of photographs are of Fairfield Porter. Also included are Manhattan street scenes photographed by Porter, and views of Joan and Harold Ludman's 1976 visit with Mrs. Porter at the home and studio.
Arrangement and Series Description
The collection is arranged as 6 series:
- Series 1: Fairfield Porter: A Catalogue Raisonné of his Prints, 1936-2003 (Box 1; 0.4 linear ft.)
- Series 2: Fairfield Porter: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Watercolors, and Pastels, 1933-2003 (Boxes 1-3; 2.6 linear ft.)
- Series 3: Exhibition Records, 1982-1983 (Box 4; 4 folders)
- Series 4: Printed Material, 1966-2000 (Box 4; 0.2 linear ft.)
- Series 5: Authentications, 1991-2001 (Box 4; 2 folders)
- Series 6: Photographs, circa1910-1976 (Box 4; 0.1 linear ft.)
Subjects and Names
This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following terms:
- Porter, Fairfield
- Wheelwright, John, 1897-1940
- Gallery Association of New York State
- Art patrons
Types of Materials:
- Poor, Anne, 1911-2011
The Joan Ludaman papers relating to Fairfield Porter were donated to the Archives of American Art by Joan Ludman in 2003 and 2004.
Separated and Related Materials
Among the holdings of the Archives of American Art are the Fairfield Porter papers, 1888-2001, and an oral history interview with Fairfield Porter conducted by Paul Cummings in 1968.
How the Collection was Processed
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Catherine S. Gaines in 2010.
How to Use the Collection
Restrictions on Use
Use of original material requires an appointment.
Ownership & Literary Rights
The Joan Ludman papers relating to Fairfield Porter are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
How to Cite this Collection
Joan Ludman papers relating to Fairfield Porter. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Detailed Description and Container Inventory
Fairfield Porter: A Catalogue Raisonné of his Prints, 1936-2003
(Box 1; 0.4 linear ft.)
Correspondence consists mainly of incoming letters. Research correspondence concerns provenance and exhibition history of Porter prints; also found is information received after the publication deadline. Material from the 1930s consists of photocopies of Porter's letters to John Wheelwright about linoleum cuts he made for the Socialist publication Poems for a Dime. Miscellaneous correspondence includes letters from Anne Porter concerning the catalogue raisonné, publication permissions and comments about the catalogue raisonné.
Among the writings are Ludman's "Log of the Work in Progress on Research and Interviews…," interview transcripts, and notes.
Printed material used for resarch mentions or reproduces Porter's prints. Also found is similar material post-dating publication of the book, along with publicity for the catalogue raisonné and reviews.
The black and white zinc plate lithograph is for Scorpion, Eagle and Dove, A Love Poem by Ted Berrigan (illustrated and lettered by Porter), circa 1970. Book jackets featuring Porter's work are for volumes of poetry by John Koethe and James Schulyer, and for Ludman's catalogue raisonné. Also found are a small number of negatives and transparencies.
Research correspondence is arranged alphaetically by correspondent. Photographs that were reproduced in the catalogue raisonné are arranged by medium.
|1||1||Research, 1930s, 1977-1984|
Interview Transcripts and Notes, 1978-1979
"Log of the Work in Progress on Research and Interviews for Fairfield Porter: A Catalogue Raisonné of his Prints," 1976-1981
|7||About Porter's Prints (post-dating publication of the catalogue raisonné), 1982-2003, undated|
|1||8||Publicity (advertisements, book reviews, press releases, etc.), 1980-1982, undated|
|1||9||Articles, Catalogs, Miscellaneous Items, 1971-1980, undated|
|1||10||Poems for a Dime, numbers 4 and 6, 1936-1937|
|1||Photographs - Art Work|
|1||11||Linoleum Cuts (1936-1940), undated|
|1||12||Black and White Offset (circa 1960-1969), undated|
|1||13||Black and White Zinc Plate (circa 1970), undated|
Color (1971-1975), undated
Color (1971-1975), undated
(black and white photographs)
|1||16||Silkscreen (1967), 1978, undated|
|1||Photographs - Printed Material (reproducing work by Porter)|
|1||17||Book Jackets, undated|
|1||Negatives - Art Work|
|1||19||Illustration (1927), undated|
|1||20||Linoleum Cuts (1936-1937), undated|
|1||Transparencies - Art Work|
|1||21||Lithographs, Color (1969-1975), undated|
|1||22||Silkscreen (executed 1967), undated|
|1||Transparencies - Printed Material (reproducing work by Porter)|
|1||23||Book Jackets, undated|
Fairfield Porter: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Watercolors, and Pastels, 1933-2003
(Boxes 1-3; 2.6 linear ft.)
Correspondence consists mainly of incoming letters. Research correspondence includes many completed questionnaires that Ludman distributed to owners of Porter's work. Porter's letters to Howard Griffin, written in the 1970s, are photocopies. Correspondence with Anne Porter includes copies of letters from galleries; typed excerpts from letters, 1933-1938, mentioning Fairfield Porter's painting activities; and some social and personal letters to Joan and Harold Ludman. The Edith Schloss file includes Schloss's correspondence with Ludman and photocopies of letters from Fairfield Porter. Miscellaneous correspondence and related notes include information obtained too late to incorporate into the catalogue raisonné.
The "master index" summarizes Ludman's research on index cards with some photographs, photocopies, and letters interfiled. Writings consist of a transcript of a conversation with Anne Porter, various notes, and the manuscript of Ludman's catalogue of the Parrish Musuem's Fairfield Porter collection.
Printed material - mostly articles, exhibition announcements, catalogs - mention or reproduce paintings by Fairfield Porter. Also found is similar material post-dating publication of the catalogue raisonné, along with publicity and reviews of the catalogue raisonné. Photographs are of paintings and watercolors by Fairfield Porter and include those published in the catalogue raisonné as well as snapshots of early paintings, circa 1930s-1940s.
Research correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. The "master index" is arranged alphabetically by painting title. Photographs that were published in the catalogue raisonné are arranged numerically, and correspond to numbers used in the publication.
|1||Correspondence - Research|
Alpha Gallery - Sarah Lane Crabtree, 1990-2001
Robert Dash - Julia Gruen, 1982-2001, undated
Paul M. Hertzmann, Inc. - Warren S. Josephy, 1982-1995
Sam Klein - Frank Louis Picarello, Jr., 1974-2000
Porter, Anne, 1933-1938, 1983-2002, undated
|1||32||Porter, Fairfield, 1960-1974, undated|
David A. Praeger - Mrs. Harold Robbins,
|1||34||Edith Schloss, 1972-2001|
David Shapiro - Sumner Winebaum,
|Correspondence - Essay Authors|
|1||36||William C. Agee, circa 2000|
|1||37||Rackstraw Downes, 1992-1999|
Correspondence - Miscellaneous (with related notes), 2000-2003
|1||39||Adlai Stevenson - Bear Island with Spruces, circa 1988-2000|
|1||40||Bedroom - Cumulus, circa 1988-2000|
|1||41||Daisies - Evening Shore, circa 1988-2000|
|1||42||Fairfield's Aunt Margaret Furness - Grey Still Life, circa 1988-2000|
|2||1||The Harbor - Hymn to Life, circa 1988-2000|
|2||2||Ice Storm - July Interior, circa 1988-2000|
|2||3||Katie - Lizzie with Wild Roses, circa 1988-2000|
|2||4||Lobster Boat - Melting Snow, circa 1988-2000|
|2||5||Michael W. Straus - Overmantle, circa 1988-2000|
|2||6||Painting Materials - Purple Mountain Landscape, circa 1988-2000|
|2||7||Queen Anne's Lace, Evening - September Cloud, circa 1988-2000|
|2||8||The Shore - Studio Interior, circa 1988-2000|
|2||9||Study for Anne Reading to Laurance - Two Trees, circa 1988-2000|
|2||10||Under the Elms - Untitled, circa 1988-2000|
|2||11||Vase of Flowers - Zinnias and Milk Cartons, circa 1988-2000|
Manuscript, "Catalogue of the Fairfield Porter Collection at the Parrish Art Museum," Parts 1 and 2, compiled by Joan Ludman, circa 1991
|2||14||Notes, 1963-1997, undated|
|2||15||Notes, "Prescott D. Schutz material," circa 1980s|
|2||16||Transcript of Conversation with Anne Porter, 1988|
About Porter's Paintings (post-dating publication of the catalogue raisonné),
|2||19||Publicity, 1993-2002, undated|
Research Materials, 1955-2002, undated
|3||Images Reproduced in Fairfield Porter: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Watercolors, and Pastels|
Photographs and Printed Reproductions, undated
|3||Photographs of Art Work by Fairfield Porter|
|3||38||Mural, Turn Imperialist War into Civil War, circa 1934-1935|
Paintings, circa 1930s-1940s
(loose pages from photograph album)
|3||42||Watercolors - Porter exhibition installation, Brooke Alexander Gallery (1975 December-1976 January), circa 1975|
|3||43||Slides - Paintings, undated|
|3||44||Transparencies - Paintings, undated|
Exhibition Records, 1982-1983
(Box 4; 4 folders)
"Prints by Fairfield Porter from the Lauris and Daniel J. Mason Collection," an exhibition organized by Joan Ludman, traveled under the auspices of the Gallery Association of New York State. Among its venues were: Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York (1982); Federal Reserve Bank of New York (1982); State University of New York, Oneonta (1982); Brookhaven National Laboratories, Upton, New York (1983); Niagara Community College, Sanborn, New York (1983); Hempstead Public Library, Hempstead, New York (1983); and State University of New York, Cobleskill (1983).
Correspondence about the exhibition consists mainly of incoming letters from the Gallery Association of New York State. Ludman's gallery talk is titled "The Color Lithographs of Fairfield Porter." Photographs are of the exhibition opening and installation at the Parrish Art Museum in 1982.
|4||2||Text of Gallery Talk by Ludman, Parrish Art Museum, 1982|
|4||3||Printed Material, 1982-1983|
Printed Material, 1966-2000
(Box 4; 0.2 linear ft.)
Printed material consists of exhibition catalogs and announcements, and articles about Fairfield Porter, his work, and family; many items contain reproductions of his artwork. Also found are articles about both prints and paintings with publication dates that suggest they may have provided information for both of Ludman's catalogue raisonné projects. Printed material by Porter consists of an article and book review and a volume of Porter's criticism selected and edited by Rackstraw Downes.
Additonal printed material is found in series 1-3.
|4||About/Mentioning Fairfield Porter|
|4||5||Biographical Notes; Obituary, 1966-1991, undated|
Articles, etc., 1971-2003, undated
|4||11||Reviews of Books about Porter, 1983-2000|
|4||About/Mentioning Porter Family|
|4||12||Fuller, Anina Porter (niece), 1997|
|4||13||Porter, Anne (wife), 1994, undated|
|4||14||Porter, Eliot (brother), 1979-1990, undated|
|4||By Fairfield Porter|
|4||15||Article and Book Review, 1966, undated|
|4||16||Fairfield Porter: Art in Its Own Terms - Selected Criticism, 1935-75, edited by Rackstraw Downes, 1978-1993, (reviews and publicity), undated|
|4||17||Map of Great Spruce Head Island, Maine, undated|
(Box 4; 2 folders)
Authentications include letters and pictures from owners of works purported to be by Fairfield Porter, along with Mrs. Ludman's opinions (some with input from Mrs. Porter).
|4||Authentication of Art Work|
|4||18||By Fairfield Porter, 2001|
|4||19||Not by Fairfield Porter, 1999-2002, undated|
Photographs, circa 1910-1976
(Box 4; 0.1 linear ft.)
The photograph of Porter in his studio by John MacWhinnie was the basis for MacWhinnie's Portrait of Fairfield Porter.
Additional scattered photographs are found in series 1-3 and 5.
|4||20||With Edward (brother), circa 1910|
|4||21||At Shorewood Atelier, Inc., circa 1971|
|4||22||In his Studio (John MacWhinnie, photographer), undated|
|4||23||Portrait of Fairfield Porter by John MacWhinnie, undated|
|4||24||Joan and Harold Ludman visit the Porter Home and Studio, 1976|
|4||Miscellaneous Subjects (Fairfield Porter, photographer)|
|4||26||Manhattan Street Scenes, circa 1960s|
|4||27||Joan and Harold Ludman visit the Porter Home and Studio, 1976|
|4||28||Fairfield Porter's Signature, undated|