(ART.) PORTER, JAMES AMOS. James Amos Porter's African-American Art History Reference archive. Thousands of items, including hundreds of photographs, copious correspondence, exhibit catalogues, art books, flyers, bio- and bibliographical data filling over 15 large cartons. should be seen. Vp, 1920s-1970s Estimate $30,000-40,000
a large and important archive, assembled by James Amos Porter (1905-1970), artist, author and Head of the Art Department and Gallery of Art connected with Howard University for over forty years. One of America's pioneer art historians, Porter assembled this archive over a period of five decades. This material served as the resource for Porter's Modern Negro Art (1943), and his courses, lectures and literally hundreds of his articles in various publications over the course of his long career. The archive includes correspondence from virtually every major African-American artist from the 1920s forward: Romare Bearden, Lois Mailou Jones, Meta Warwick Fuller, Elizabeth Catlett, Hughie Lee-Smith and scores of others. In many cases retained copies of his replies or queries are included. There are literally hundreds of contemporary photographs of work by virtually all of the major black artists of the twentieth century, some of which were generated by the WPA in the 1930s. Another important aspect of the archive are the numerous exhibit catalogues, some of which are virtually unobtainable today. During the 1945-46 academic year at Howard, Porter travelled between Haiti and Cuba, interviewing artists and gathering material for a future monograph. This was done with the financial assistance of the Rockefeller Foundation. Much of the material he collected during this period was used to develop a Latin-American art curriculum at Howard. Porter also spent a great deal of time during the 1940s studying the life and work of Robert Scott Duncanson (1817-1872), a Civil War-era black artist from Cincinnati, Ohio. His research on Duncanson resulted in the 1951 publication of a monograph on the subject, as well as a major article in the journal "Art in America." The archive also include his writings, published and unpublished lectures and speeches. All of the material gathered by Porter for these projects is included in the present archive, together with a considerable quantity of correspondence from other art historians, curators and librarians. Porter's work on Duncanson is unparalleled. view by appointment.