JAMES A. PORTER (1905 - 1970) Tempest of the Niger.
Oil on cotton canvas, 1964. 660x1015 mm; 26x40 inches. Signed and dated in oil, lower right.
Provenance: the artist; Dorothy Porter Walker; Constance Porter Uzelac; thence by descent to the current owner, private collection.
Exhibitions: Retrospective Exhibition: Paintings of the Years 1954-1964, January 22 - February 26, 1965. Washington, DC, Howard University, Gallery of Art; The Negro in American Art; An Exhibition Co-Sponsored by the California Arts Commission, with the label on the frame back. Travelling Exhibition; University of California, Los Angeles, September 11-October 16, 1966; University of California, Davis, November 1 - December 15, 1966; Fine Arts Gallery, San Diego, January 6 - February 12, 1967; Art Museum, Oakland, February 24 - March 19, 1967; California Afro-American Museum, Los Angeles, 1967, with the label on the frame back; Afro-American Artists, 1800-1969, Municipal Arts Gallery, Philadelphia, 1969-70; James A. Porter: Artist and Art Historian; The Memory of The Legacy. Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., October 15, 1992 - February 9, 1993.
Illustrated: The Negro in American Art, Dickson Art Center, UCLA Art Galleries, 1967, p. 40. (Porter also wrote the catalogue essay); Romare Bearden and Harry B. Henderson, Jr.A History of African-American Artists, pl. xxii.
In 1963-64, James Porter took a sabbatical leave from his chairmanship of the art department at Howard University. He travelled and lived in West Africa, Nigeria and Egypt to gather materials for a projected book on West African art and architecture. He hoped to re-trace the African roots of black arts, and find its inherent African qualities. Porter said from this time that "I hope most sincerely that my paintings [do] reflect the enthusiasm and the understanding admiration which I have felt for Africa and the Africans, even though, admittedly the most skillful expatriate artist may utterly fail to capture those ineffable traits in the African people which we believe are made visible to us in their arts."