two gemini painters: Fairfield Porter and Velasquez
Tuesday, June 24, 2008 at 09:55PM
Mark Shulgasser in Gemini

Fairfield Porter movingly captured the American suburban pastoral, snapshottyimg.888-porter%20cars in composition, in occasion, in cropping, even in rapidity of execution.

As in many Gemini artists (Gauguin, Rouault, Gottleib, Steinberg, perhaps even Courbet) a certain awkwardness evokes a certain manner with which to conceal itself.
At a Porter show  in 1992 it seemed that every other painting was of a pair of something: a pair of houses, a pair of boats, of people, of trees, a couple of chairs, a
porter.jpg mixed doubles match,  etc.  The show was titled "Porter Pairings." A curator had intuited Porter's Geminian nature.


One of Porter’s most notable canvases, The Mirror, is a direct homage to Velasquez’s masterpiece Las Meninas, a work that incorporates a mirror to profound effect. The mirror, of course, is a principal visual Geminism, and Velasquez, one of the greatest “hands” in the history of painting, was himself, also, a Gemini.                                                                                                                                             img.888-porter-figures.jpg


Las Meninas
(detail), Prado

Porter is an elegist of John Cheever country, and the two Geminis had much else in common:  both husbands and fathers juggling family ties with a bisexual identity, both artistic WASPS with intense sibling issues. Porter was 4th in a brood of five children, one of his three brothers was the well-known photographer Eliot Porter. Cheever had a notorious love/hate relationship with his older brother, and his fiction is marked with fratricide and incest.


Fairfield Porter: Art in its Own Terms. Selected Criticism 1935-1975. vg/vg, rare, $45.

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