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James Amos Porter

 (1905 - 1970)
James Amos Porter was active/lived in District Of Columbia, Maryland.  James Porter is known for figure-genre, portrait and still life painting.

James Amos Porter

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for James Amos Porter
The following was submitted by Coni Porter Uzelac, daughter of the artist.

JAMES AMOS PORTER: THE DEAN OF AFRO-AMERICAN ART HISTORY was born in Baltimore, Maryland, December 22, 1905.  He was the youngest of seven children of John, a Methodist minister and Lydia Peck Porter.  He received his early education in Maryland, and entered the public schools of the District of Columbia in 1918, graduating with honors in 1923 from Armstrong High School.  Program notes from "Class Night Exercises, Class of 1923" list Porter as Class Treasurer, and report that he gave the Salutatory address.

He entered Howard University's School of Applied Sciences on an art scholarship in the fall of 1923, pursuing courses in painting, drawing and the history of art under the tutelage of James V. Herring, who founded and chaired the newly organized Howard University, organized in 1927. He graduated with academic honors in 1927 receiving a Bachelors degree in art.

He was at once employed as an Instructor in Art.  During the summers of 1927 and 1928, he attended Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, pursuing courses in art education, jewelry and ceramics.  In 1929, he studied at the Art Students League of New York under Dimitri Romanovsky and George Bridgman, the well known figure drawing expert.  From Bridgman's instruction, he learned the mastery of figure drawing.

Porter entered the Harmon Foundation Exhibitions which were held in New York City, and his artworks also were included in several of the Harmon Traveling exhibitions.  In 1929, Porter was awarded the Harmon Foundation Honorable Mention for Sarah, later destroyed.  He was awarded the Arthur Schomberg Portrait Prize for the painting Woman Holding A Jug in 1933 in the Harmon Foundation Exhibition of Negro artists.

While on Sabbatical leave from Howard during the summer of 1935 and the winter months of that year, he studied Medieval Archaeology at the Institut d'Art et d'Archaeologie, at the Sorbonne in Paris on a scholarship provided by the Carnegie Foundation's Institute of International Education.  This experience further aroused his interests in architecture and archeology.  In the fall of the same year, he traveled in Belgium, Holland, Germany, and Italy as a stipendiary of the General Education Board of the Rockefeller Foundation Travel Grant to study European painting and several collections of African art, including crafts then housed in important museums of ethnography in these countries.

His interest in African art dates back to 1935, when, while visiting France, he met many West Africans and viewed several fine collections of traditional African art.  He later accompanied the noted Senegales dancer Feral Benga to the Brussels Fair, where many works of African art were on display. Porter painted Benga in 1935, and entitled it Soldat Sengelese.

He received his M.A. in art history after two years of graduate study at the Fine Arts Graduate Center, New York University in 1937 receiving the degree in History of Art.

In 1943, his classic book, Modern Negro Art was published by the Dryden Press (now Holt-Dryden) of New York City.  This book has proved to be one of  the most informative sources to date on the productivity of the Negro artist in the United States since the 18th century.  This work was later reprinted by Arno Press (1963) as a standard reference work on Black Art in America.  In the winter of 1992, Modern Negro Art was reprinted with a new introduction by David Driskell.  It is said that "Porter's book places African American artists in the context of modern art history, which was both novel and profound. . .For some, Modern Negro Art was considered presumptuous and certainly premature.  But Porter's bold and perceptive scholarship helped those who subsequently focused their attention on African American expression in the visual arts to see the wealth of work that had been produced in the United States for over two centuries."  Modern Negro Art is considered by many as "the fundamental book for those who delve into black art history."

In 1945-46, when again on sabbatical leave, he received support from the General Education Board, Rockefeller Foundation Travel Grant in the form of a grant-in-aid of travel, museum visitation and interviews with cultural-affairs officers and artists in Cuba and Haiti.  The primary purpose of the project was to obtain photographic and documentary materials on native and independent arts of those countries.  The materials thus collected became an important part of courses in Latin American Art which were conducted at Howard University.

In 1953, he was appointed Head of Department of Art and Director of the Art Gallery, Howard.  Due to his leadership as Head of the Department of Art, the Kress Foundation generously included Howard among 20 or so American universities selected to receive a "Kress Study Collection" of Renaissance paintings and sculpture as a stimulus to the study of art history.  He was greatly influenced by the "compositional organization of the Dutch School - a topic of special interest to him since he lectured widely on this subject" and was considered an authority on it.

From 1953, he organized many exhibitions of art by artists of both races and is credited with enlarging the permanent art collection of Howard University and strengthening its art department collection of works by black artists, and its art curriculum.  One of the most important group showings was entitled New Vistas in American Art for which a subsidy was obtained from the Eugene and Agnes Meyer Foundation of Washington, for the purpose of defraying expenses and purchasing works out of the exhibits for the University collection.

Under his direction, the art department acquired a new building shared with the other university fine arts programs; a vastly expanded curriculum, a growing staff of distinguished artists and art historians and the beginnings of a major PhD. program.  In 1955 he received an Achievement in Art Award from the Pyramid Club of Philadelphia.  He also was appointed a Fellow of Belgium - American Art Seminar studying Flemish and Dutch art of the 16th, 17th, & 18th centuries.

In 1961, he was a delegate at the UNESCO Conference on Africa, Boston, Massachusetts.  He was a member of the Arts Council of Washington, D. C., from 1961-63; and a member of the Symposium on Art and Public Education.  During this period, he traveled throughout West Africa lecturing on African and Afro-American art for the Voice of America.

In 1962, he was a delegate-member of the International Congress on African Art and Culture, sponsored by the Rhodes National Gallery, Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia.  In 1963-64, he took a sabbatical leave and lived and traveled in West Africa, Nigeria and Egypt with funding from the Committee on Grants, of the (Washington) Evening Star Faculty-Research Grant to undertake and to gather materials for a projected book on West African art and architecture; and on August 20th arrived in Portugal on the first of his year-long tour.  It was described as "A Project of Travel, Study, and Original Research to Develop Materials Essential to the Completion of a Book on the Ultra-African Art in the Western World."

Such a book would present the basic cultural strivings and changes of the black creative spirit which could be brought into broader historical perspective by tracing the prolongation of its intrinsic and inherent taints and its elemental forms into the New-World life of the Negro.

He is quoted as having said, "My conception of this world view imposes the need to telescope the transcontinental historical and cultural perspectives of the Negro, and to examine the quantitative as well as the qualitative factors affecting the African's experience outside Africa.  In this way, it becomes possible to view and to compare as well as to reconstruct the apparently disparate or dissimilar experiences and cultural expressions of the transplanted Negro wherever they may occur."

He spent approximately a year from September 1963 to July 1964 collecting various pieces of African art throughout West Africa and Egypt, and returned to the United States with 25 paintings he had completed while in Lagos, Nigeria, his base where the "Nigerian subject matter predominated in my work of that year accounting for, I believe, the fact that I was in Nigeria longer than anywhere else and, in addition, had become deeply interested in the fascinating culture and folklore of its people"; and Dahomey, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, and the Sudan.

He is quoted as saying" 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."

On August 13, 1964, he traveled to Brazil on a grant from Howard University on funds provided for faculty research, in search of documentation of the African influence and contribution to Brazilian colonial and modern art and Latin American art and culture.  Much of the information and materials he obtained was used in his course "African Art and Architecture" at Howard.

He returned to the United States September 3rd, 1964.  Professor Porter  accumulated 800 photographs, copious notes and source materials for a book on this subject.

In 1965 he directed the AFRO Home Show's "art for the Home" exhibit which featured the works of close to 20 Washington area artists.  The show gave "the layman a wider knowledge of the art market; and broadened his appreciation of art, particularly as adornment for the home."

He was named "one of America's most outstanding men of the arts" along with 26 other teachers in the U. S. to receive the first National Gallery of Art Medal and Honorarium for distinguished Achievement in Art Education which was presented at a White House ceremony by Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson.  These medals were specially designed as part of a day-long celebration of the founding of the National Gallery.

In 1965, he was quoted as saying "We have made a big contribution" referring to Howard's pioneering role in enlarging opportunities for Negroes in the visual arts, "We were among the first to send exhibitions to the South to schools whose students weren't allowed admission to the museums.  We've sent our graduates to teach in those schools.  We've exhibited works of Negro artists here purposely to help them have a hearing.  Also, by meeting the high standards of the College Art Association, the American Federation of Artists, and the National Association of Schools of Art, we've gotten the kind of academic recognition that has won us respect from white and Negro alike."

In 1966, he received an award from Pyramid Club in Philadelphia.  At the time of his death (Saturday, February 28, 1970), he was writing a book on the ultra-African influence of African art in the western world.  The book, being prepared for the New York Graphic Society, was to be titled The Black Artist.  He said such a book is needed in order that the basic cultural strivings and mutations of the Negro creative spirit may be brought into broader historical perspective.  He was internationally known as a scholar, art critic, painter, writer and lecturer.

During his career, Porter seemed to enjoy teaching the African art course more than any other course and students enjoyed his teaching African art since he had firsthand knowledge concerning Africa.  Porter taught from an historical point of view and he used slides from personal experiences to supplement instruction.  He entered numerous art exhibitions, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, UCLA Art Galleries, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum, Barnett Aden Gallery, and the Detroit Institute of Arts, in which his work received high critical acclaim.

His mastery of several painting mediums, including pastel, oil and egg tempera made him attractive to a number of clients who sought to have their portraits painted.  He pursued with adroit skill an accomplished style of realism making his paintings highly desirable.  Porter prepared a number of illustrations for several publications aimed at showing an informed view of black life and culture in American.  He executed murals in oil and in fresco, a medium he learned while studying in San Miguel, Mexico during the summer of 1961.

He married Dorothy Louise Burnett of Montclair, New Jersey on December 27, 1929, and to that union, one child, Constance was born on August 22, 1939.

Porter died on February 28, 1970 at Freedman's Hospital, Howard University, and his ashes were flown to the winds.

Since his death many tributes have been acknowledged to him - December 4, 1970 marked the dedication of the James A. Porter Gallery of African-American Art at the Howard University Gallery of Art; Aesthetic Dynamics Presented "Afro-American Images, 1971" - this exhibition was dedicated "to his work as artist/art historian from 1930 to his passing in 1970.

He was a man ahead of his time.  Unique in the sense that he was totally involved in the creative expression which characterizes the Black life-style in African, Latin American and African-American art as an historian and was an accomplished practicing artist as well.  His creative works form a solid foundation upon which others may confidently build in the future.  We are proud and honored to present this exhibition as a tribute to his name; on Saturday, March 31, 1990, the first James A. Porter Inaugural Annual Colloquium on African American Art was held at the Department of Art, Howard University, Washington, D.C. This Colloquium, in its 20th year (2009) continues to promote innovative perspectives, scholarships and opens the critical dialogue on African American Art.

James A. Porter's publications and teachings have dealt with artists who have been invisible to the American mainstream establishment.  The Colloquium seeks to further Porter's efforts to present African-American artists and art in high relief by defining and assessing the artistic values that are meaningful and enduing for African Americans.

Porter wrote more about others than has been written about him.  On page 75 of James A. Porter, Artist and Art Historian; The Memory of the Legacy , the catalogue for a recent exhibition held at Howard University Gallery of Art (October 15, 1992 - January 24, 1993), Romare Bearden wrote "Jimmys pioneering efforts are not really widely enough known. . .it was he that first helped make the art programs in colleges, especially our colleges, less than a step child of the other disciplines, it was Jimmy who did the real pioneering research in the history of Afro-American art."

Charles White wrote "We the black people, the artists of this land have lost a beautiful sensitive brother. But his beauty, his scholarship, his works will live forever. For all that we aspire to achieve and fulfill in our noblest dreams as artists, as a people in the name of humanism, is exemplified in his life and works."

Regarding Modern Negro Art (Howard University Press, reprint 1992), Lowery S. Sims of the Metropolitan Museum of Art states, it "is still an indispensable reference work fifty years after its initial publication." Richard L. Powell says it "continues to provide today's scholars with early source information, core bibliographic material, and other essential research tools for African American art history."

Katherine Faith Prior, member of the American society of Appraisers states "Porters contributions to the world of art are unparalleled in this century. He was a fine, important, and influential artist. He also was a pioneering art historian, a legendary teacher and mentor, a courageous scholar, a serious collector, a fine writer, a dedicated arts administrator, and an un forgotten hero to decades of students in all aspects of the arts.

See Constance Porter Uzelac's MILESTONES (HOWARD UNIVERSITY EXHIBITION CATALOG, 1992) for biographical information about Porter's life, works, studies, and a full listing of James Porter's great accomplishments.

Porter's works are in major museums throughout the world, including the Barnett Aden Collection, and the Embassy of Nigeria, Lagos and the Embassy in Geneva, Switzerland.

The artist was the subject of a major exhibition with an accompanying catalog JAMES A. PORTER, ARTIST AND ART HISTORIAN THE MEMORY OF THE LEGACY, Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., October 1992-January
1993; and IN SEARCH OF BALANCE, Center for African-American History and
Culture, Smithsonian Institution, November 1997-March 1998.

Selected Magazine Articles & Newspaper Clippings:

Painting of Spiritual Takes N.Y. Prize; "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" Judged Best of 90 Works of Art.  Washington Afro-American, January 1927

To Suit Many Tastes; A Joint Water Color Show Opens - Work by Negro Artists- Giorgio de Chirico, Enigma.  New York Times, January 6, 1929

Henderson, Rose.  "Exhibit of Painting and Sculpture by Negro Artists.  Southern Workman 58:165-69, April 1929 Porter, p. 169 -portrait of James Herring (1)

Henderson, Rose.  "American Negro Exhibit at International House" Harmon exhibit.  Southern Workman 59:166-170, April 1930 Porter, p. 168 (1)

Porters Work on Exhibit at H.U. Art Gallery, [October 19-November 2, 1930], 1930

James G.<sic> Porter...Washington Star November 22, 1931 Altar scenes painted by Porter

Randall High Students Give Christmas Plays.  Washington Post, December 26, 1931

Colored Artists Show Paintings.  Washington Daily News, February 13, 1932 Rooftops; Cain and Abel; Bronze Figure; Reflections

Portraitist Uses Barbaric Colors.  Washington Daily News May 21, 1932 reproduction of Woman Holding a Jug

Exhibition of the Work of Negro Painters...Howard University Gallery of Art.  May 18-May 25, 1932  Washington Post May 22, 1932 Woman Holding a Jug

Howard U. Art Instructor Exhibits in Philadelphia.  Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, November 5,6-December 11, 1932.  Washington Tribune November 11, 1932 Bronze Figure

Howard University Art Instructor Exhibits at Pennsylvania Academy, November 12-December 11, 1932.  Philadelphia Independent November 27, 1932 Bronze Figure

James A. Porter.  Opportunity, February 1933, p. 47 reproduction of Boy Reading

Entertains Alpha With Smoker.  Washington Tribune February 10, 1933

57 Negro Artists Represented in Harmon Show...New York Herald Tribune February 19, 1933

Washington Men Win Art Awards.  Washington Star February 20, 1933

Sculptor Get $150 Prize at Negro Art Exhibition.  Herald Tribune February 21, 1933

Capital Colored Artists Win Prizes at New York Post February 21, 1933

Art In Review... New York Times February 21, 1933

James A. Porter, Howard Tutor, Gets High Award for Painting, Washington Tribune, February 24, 1933

The Harmon Foundation...New York Times February 27, 1933 only mentions show, no names

During the month of March... Washington Star March 12, 1933
Henderson, Rose. "Negro Artists in the Fifth Harmon Exhibition."  Southern Workman 62:175-181, April 1933
    Porter (1)

Negro Art Exhibit Opened at Howard  Washington Post May 7, 1933

Harlem Library Shows Negro Art; exhibit at 135th St., Branch Library.  Art Journal 31:14, May 20, 1933 Porter (1)

Negro As Artist Theme of Meeting; Peculiar Aptitude Will Be Stressed At Sessions Here Starting Sunday.  Washington Star October 29, 1933

Crowd Views Art of Negro.  Washington Post November 1, 1933

Art Magazines.  New York Times January 23, 1934  mentions "Negro Art on Review"

Presentation Exercises, 12th Street Branch, Y.M.C.A. February 18, 1934.  Introduction of Mr. James A. Porter, Artist by Mr. Howard Mackey; Interpretation of Mural and formal presentation to Y.M.C.A., Mr. James A. Porter

Howard Artist to Present symbolic Mural to Y.M.C.A.  Sunday Star February 18, 1934

Mural Presented Local Y.M.C.A.; Painting Unveiled by Artist at Ceremonies Sunday at Branch.  Washington Tribune February 20, 1934

Jewell, Edward Alden.  "New Display Made of Art of Negroes."   New York Times May 1, 1934, p. 21 Porter (1)

An Exhibition by Negro Artists.  New York Herald Tribune May 6, 1934 African Nude

Henderson, Rose.  "Negro Art Exhibit."  Southern Workman 63:215-17, July 1934
Porter, p. 216 (1)

Negro Art Display Is Attracting Many To State's Museum.  Sunday Call (Newark., N.J.) April 7, 1935

"Independent Art Show Opens Tomorrow"  Washington Post April 21, 1935:8 Porter, c. 3,8 (1)

Negro Artists Reveal Genius in Trenton Show.  Art Digest April 15, 1935

35 Scholarships To Paris Awarded.  New York Times June 3, 1935

H. U. Professor to Study in Paris. New York Times June 3, 1935

Who's Who in American Art.  Washington, D.C., American Federation of Arts, v. 1 - 1936-37 Porter (1)

The Work of Outstanding Negro Artists, June 19-November 29, 1936.  Texas Centennial of Dallas, Texas. Head

Negro History Project, WPA, February 8-13, 1937. Montclair Times February 1937.
    The Girl in Red Cap; Old X; Young Woman Holding Jug; Tapestry:Light-Worshippers

Hundreds See Exhibition at Montclair YW. Amsterdam News February 20, 1937

Howard Artist and His Portrait of Famous Woman.  [Norfolk] Journal & Guide June 5, 1937

Julia Caldwell Frazier Portrait to be Presented H.U.  Washington Tribune June 5, 1937

New York University.  One Hundred and fifth Commencement.  Hall of Fame Terrace Near Andrews Avenue; Card of Admission to the Conferring of Degrees on 9 June 1937

Howard U. Present Exhibit, November-November 15, 1937(signed A[lice] G[ardeme]  Washington Post November 7, 1937

Howard U. Presents Exhibit.  Washington Post November 7, 1937

Howard Gallery Has Work By Porter, Wells; Two Colored Painters Are Given Exhibition Until February 28.  Washington Post February 20, 1938

Two Faculty Members Hold Engaging Exhibition in Howard University Gallery.  Sunday Star February 20, 1938

Art Calendar: Howard University Art Gallery; Paintings and Prints by James Porter and James Wells.  Washington Post February 20, 1938

James A. Porter.  Negro History Bulletin 2(1)61-62, October 1938

"Books on Art."  Negro History Bulletin 2:58+, Apr 1939 Porter, p. 64 (1)

 "Persons and Achievements to be Remembered in April."  Negro History Bulletin 2:59-63, Apr 1939 Porter, p. 61-62 (1)

"Congressman [Arthur W.] Mitchell's Speech on Negro History in the U.S. House of Representatives, February 7, 1940."  Negro History Bulletin 3:85-87, Mar 1940. Porter, p. 86 (1)

A Decade of Art at Howard University.  !!Evening Star April 7, 1940
    An American Family

Whiting, Frank A, Jr.  "Exhibition Reviews: Howard Anniversary Exhibit, Washington."  10th anniversary exhibit. In: Magazine of Art 33:321, May 1940
    Porter (1)

Dyson, Walter, Howard University, the Capstone of Negro Education: a History.  Washington, D.C., Graduate School, Howard University, 1941.
Mentions art department p 135-45, 174-75, includes James Porter (1)

News Release: Modern Negro Art.  New York Dryden Press, October 25, 1943

Y.W.C.A. Dedicates Mural Painted by Howard University Seniors.  Times-Herald March 19, 1943

A Further Art Book Survey; Brief Comment on Recent Publications, chiefly Concerned With Specially American Aspects of the Field, by Edward Alden Jewell.  New York Times, July 9, 1944, p. 2
Lowenfeld, Viktor.  New Negro Art in America.  Design 46:20-21+, Sept 1944.
"Good News: Art Education for Negroes".  Design 46:31, Dec 1944

Lowenfeld, Viktor.  "Negro Art Expression in America." In: Madison Quarterly 5:16-31, Jan 1945
Roberts, Lucille D. Progress in Art. Negro History Bulletin 9(1):149-152, 166,  April 1946
James A. Porter: Painter.  Newspic, September 1946, p. 24-25

Art.  Pittsburg Courier February 4, 1948

Prejudice Said To Hinder Art.  Norfolk Journal & Guide April 24, 1948

College and School News.  Crisis 55:132-35+ May 1948.Porter, p. 154 (1)

Jones, Lois Mailou.  "Racial Differences."  In Portraits in the Making, ed. by Phoebe Flory Walker et al.  New York, Putnam, 1948.  Porter, p. 151 (1)

"March Exhibition Calendar."  Magazine of Art 41:119-121, Mar 1948
Haitian scenes, by Porter, Barnett Aden Gallery, Washington, D.C., Mar p. 121 (1)

How Gifted Is The Negro In Art?. Color 5(2):  1949 illus. w. many JAP paintings including & banjo player +cockfighter in background

Howard Has Art Display in Federal Security Bdg.  Norfolk J & G April 22, 1950
mentions Asher, Jones, Tabary, Porter & Wells exhibiting on 5th floor foyer, Federal Security Bldg. 

Dwight, Edward H.  Review of: "Robert S. Duncanson, Midwestern Romantic-Realist", by James A. Porter. Journal of Negro History 37(1):99-101, January 1952.

"President Daniel Viewed Through Eyes of Portrait Artist."  In: Virginia Statesman,  Monday March 23, 1953, p. 3

Milton, Nerissa Long.  James A. Porter.  Negro History Bulletin       :5-6, October 1954

African Art.  Washington Afro-American, October 29, 1957   

Cultural Heritage of Negro Stressed, by Jean White.  Washington Post Oct 19, 1959, B3

4 Professors to Talk on Culture of Negro. Washington Post, Oct 17, 1959, D9

Xavier Art Show; Young American 1959.  Ebony 15:26-30, Feb 1960.Porter, p. 126; photos of them (1)

The Cultural Contributions of the Negro to American Life.  Baltimore, Enoch Pratt Free Library and Maryland Division of Library Extension, 1959.  [Selection of books]

An Artist Talks About Art and a National Parley March 31.  Washington Afro-American, March 25, 1961 p. 6

Howard's Vistas; in Corcoran Ryder Show Highlights Art Season, by Florence S. Berryman.  [Washington Evening] Sunday Star, April 9, 1961 D-8

Franklin, John Hope.  Negro American, by John Hope Franklin and Rayford Whittingham Logan.  In: Encyclopaedia Britannica.  Chicago, 1963.  v. 16:192-200

Howard U. Art Head Awarded Star Grant.  Evening Star, May 16, 1963: C-10

Museum Personnel.  Art Journal 23:154, Winter 1963-64

Museum Personnel.  Art Journal 24:68, Fall 1964

Hoge, Warren.  Painter's Reaction: Africa - a Vivid Continent. Evening Star, January 22, 1965:B-4

Getlein, Frank.  Art Shows Never Looked Better With Exhibits at Store, Galleries.  Sunday Star.  January 24, 1965, C-5
McBee, Susanna.  Artist Planned to Write but Brushed It Aside.  Washington Post January 25, 1965

Howard U. prof. to talk on African art.  Washington Afro-American, April 13, 1965

Professor Porter Produces 24 Oil Paintings During Year-Long Study Tour of West Africa.  Howard University Magazine 7(4):12-16, July 1965.

Jenkins, Ruth.  "Art For The Home.  Washington Afro-American  October 2, 1965

Aarons, Leroy F.  26 Receive Art Medals; Two Washingtonians Honored.  Washington Post, March 18, 1966.

City University of New York.  The Evolution of Afro-American Artists; 1800-1950.  New York.  Exhibition catalog.  Cosponsored by Harlem Cultural Council, New York Urban League, 1967.
Forum Gallery.  The Portrayal of the Negro in American Painting.  New York, 1967.  Exhibition catalog.
Last page mentions United Negro College Fund Committee members including James Porter (1)

White, Charles.  Images of Dignity in Negro Digest 16:40-48. 1967
    Porter, p. 44

Art - With Comments By James Porter.  In: Black Talent Speaks, by Charles M Weisenberg.  Los Angeles FM & Fine Arts 8(1):4-7, January 1967   
     Porter p. 6-7

Forgey, Benjamin.  Art: Admirable Show for Howard University's Centennial.  Washington Star, Feb/Mar 1967.
    Mentions Porter

Journal of the National Conference of Artists, Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Missouri, Spring 1967 mentions "Ten Afro-American Artists of the Nineteenth Century" and series of lectures on art history at Fisk in January

White, Charles.  Images of Dignity; reviewed by Elton Clay Fax.  In: Freedomways 7:371-73, Fall 1967.
Porter, p. 371-72  (1)

Christmas Stamp First Day At National Gallery Friday.  Sunday Star, October 27, 1968, D-11

P.O. Prepared for Rush on Yule Stamp.  Washington Daily News.  November 2, 1968, p. 15
Mentions Porter
College Art Association; Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C.  Art Journal 29:108, Fall 1969.  James Porter and Carroll Greene hold seminars of black art (1)

Iness-Brown, Virginia.  "The First World Festival of Negro Arts.: In: International Art Exhibition, Arts Magazine Yearbook 10.  New York, Art Digest p. 110-114, 1969.
Porter (1)

Logan, Rayford Whittingham. Howard University: The First Hundred Years, 1867-1967.  Washington, D.C., Howard U Pr., 1969.
Porter, pl. XVIII; p. 528, 533, 553-54 (1)

James A. Porter Dies; Art Scholar at Howard. Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), Tuesday, March 3, 1970, B-4.

James A. Porter, Internationally-known Painter, Writer, Teacher and Lectures, Dies.  Press Release, Tuesday, March 3, 1970, Office of Public Relations, Howard University, Washington, D.C.  3p.

James A. Porter Dies; Art Scholar At Howard.  The Evening Star March 4, 1970:C-7

James A. Porter, 64, Painter and educator...International Herald Tribune, March 5, 1970

James A. Porter dies served Howard for 40 years.  The Hilltop 52(19):     March 6, 1970

College Art Association.  Art Journal 29:295-96, Spring 1970
Mentions various seminars on Afro-American art involving James Porter (1)

Howard University Gallery of Art Presents Painting and Sculpture from the Gallery Collection and Dedication of the James A. Porter Gallery of African-American Art. Fine Arts Building, December 4, 1970.

Atlanta University, Trevor Arnett Library. Guide to Manuscripts and Archives in the Negro Collection of Trevor Arnett Library.  Atlanta, 1971.
Porter, p. 12 (1)

Dover, Cedric.  "American Negro Art".  In: Afro-American History: Past to Present, ed. by Henry N. Drewry and Cecilia H. Drewry.  New York, Scribner, 1971
Porter, p. 382 (1)

Driskell, David Clyde.  Introduction to Black Dimensions in Contemporary American Art.  New York, New American Lib. 1971.
Porter, p. 13-26??? (1)

Ghent, Henri.  "Some Historical Facts."  Preface to 8 Artistes afro-amércains.  Geneva, Musée Rath, 1971.
Porter, p. 13 (1)

Johnston, Robert P. "Six Major Figures in Afro-American Art".  In: Michigan Academician 3:51-58, Spring 1971
Porter, p. 51 (1)

Chase, Judith Wragg.  Afro-American Art and Craft; publication announced by Ernest Kaiser in 'Recent Books' In: Freedomways 12"81-95, 1st quarter, 1972
Porter in review, p. 83 (1)

Important Notes: Gallery Named for James A. Porter; on Gallery in College of Fine Arts, Howard University.  In: ABA; a Journal of the Affairs of Black Artists 1(1):20, 1972

Important Notes: Appreciation - A Colleague; remarks by Hughie Lee-Smith at dedication of James A. Porter, Gallery, Howard U.  In: ABA; a Journal of the Affairs of Black Artists 1(1):20, 1972

Important Notes: Appreciation - a Former Student; remarks by David C. Driskell at dedication of James A. Porter, Gallery, Howard U.  In: ABA; a Journal of the Affairs of Black Artists 1(1):20-21, 1972

Gordon, Edmund.  Black Artists in America; publication announced by Ernest Kaiser in "Recent Books" In: Freedomways 13:83, 1st quarter, 1973
    "Including James Porter essay, "150 Years of Afro-American Art", p. 83 (1)

Howard University Art Faculty.  Exhibition (Jan-Feb, 1973) catalog.  New York, n.d.
    Porter (1)

Afro-American Artists: A Bio-bibliography, compiled and edited by Theresa Dickason Cederholm; reviewed by Norman Pendergraft.  In Art Journal 35:186-87, Winter 1975-76
Mentions James Porter in review, p. 187

James A. Porter Collection - "Migrations", Howard University Gallery of Art, June 7- September 15, 1978. 26 artists exhibited

"Porter, Dr. James Amos", In: Black and White, ed., by Mary Mace Spradling.  Detroit, Gale Research Co., 1980.v. 2 p, 776.

"James A. Porter: Art Historian, Painter",  Negro Almanac: A Reference Work on the Afro-American, ed. and comp. by Harry A. Ploski and James William.  New York, Wiley, 1983.  pp. 1029? 

Davis, Donald F.  James Porter of Howard: Artist, Writer.  In: Journal of Negro History  70(3/4):89-91, Summer, Fall, 1985.

Exhibition points out hidden heritage of blacks.  L.A. Life, Daily News, April 12, 1986

"Rediscovering John Robinson" in Sunday Viewing; Appealing to the Local Brunch Crowd, by Jo Ann Lewis. Washington Post, January 11, 1986, G-2

Taped Interviews:
Dr. James Porter INTV With Mr. Paul Nash [Voice, Spring, 1969].  19p.

Book Reference Sources:
Harmon Foundation Presents An Exhibit of Paintings by American Negro Artists, sponsored [with] the Commission on the Church and Race Relations of the Federated Council of Churches.  February 24 to March 6, 1929.  Youngstown, Ohio, Butler Art Institute, 1929

Mr. Syphax; Sketch for a Mural Decoration; Professor James V. Herrring; Portrait of a Woman; Mr. Cyril Bow; My Sister

Brawley, Benjamin G.  The Negro in Literature and Art. 4th rev.ed.  New York, Macmillan, 1939.
Porter, p. 252 (1)

Biography Index: A Cumulative Index to Biographical Material, Books and Magazines.   New York, Wilson, 1946-1973.  9v.?
v. 3 - 1952-55; James Porter, p. 765 (1) v. 8 - 1967-70; James Porter, p. 548 (1)

Franklin, John Hope.  From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans.  2d ed.  New York, Knopf, 1960.
Porter, p. 511 (1)

Dover, Cedric.  American Negro Art.  Greenwich, Conn., New York Graphic Society, 1960.  p.???   
    Photos of Sarah, 1928, Courtesy Harmon Foundation and Dorothy Porter

Stratton, Madeline Robinson.  Negroes Who Helped Build America.  Boston, Ginn, 1965.
    Porter, p. 98 (1)

Patterson, Lindsay.  "The Negro in Music and Art."  In: International Library of Negro Life and History.  New York, Pubs. Co, 1967 v. 2 - Contemporary Artists, p. 278-288
Porter, p. 290 (1)

Franklin, John Hope.  From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans.  3d ed.  New York, Knopf, 1967
Porter (1)

Logan, Rayford Whittingham.  The American Negro: Old World Background and New World Experience.  Boston, Houghton Mifflin Social Studies Program,  1967
 Porter, p. 223 (1)

Gayle, Addison, Jr.  Black Expression: Essays by and About Black Americans in the Creative Arts.  New York, Weybright, 1969.
 Porter, p. 254 (1)

McPherson, James M.  Blacks in American Bibliographical Essays.  Garden City, NY, Doubleday, 1971
Porter, p. 270, 272 (1)

The Sculpture of Richard Hunt.  New York.  Exhibition catalog. Museum of Modern Art, 1971
Porter, p.24

Gordon, Edmund W,  Black Artists in America.  New York, Horace Mann Lincoln Institute, Teachers College, Columbia Univ., 1972.
    Portfolio with Porter essay "One Hundred and Fifty Years of Afro-American Art"
Baskin, Wade.  Dictionary of Black Culture, by Wade Baskin and Richard N. Runes.  New York, Philos, Lib, 1973.
     Porter (1)

Bowdoin College Museum of Art. The Recent Work of David Driskell: Paintings and Prints, August 17 to September 10, 1973 - The Boyd Gallery, Bowdoin College Museum of Art.  Brunswick, Me.  Exhibition catalog.
    Porter (1)

Fine, Elsa.  Afro-American Artist; publication announced by Ernest Kaiser in 'Recent Books'.  In: Freedomways 13:264-ibc., 3rd quarter, 1973.
Williams, Ora.  American Black Women in the Arts and Social Sciences: A Bibliographic Survey.  Netuchen, MJ, Scarecrow, 1973.
 "A poor research effort based on the Afro-American art books of...Porter" (1)

Cederholm, Theresa Dickason.  Afro-American Artists; A Bio-bibliographical Directory.  Boston, Public Library, 1973. Porter, p. 225-26 (1)

Brown, Milton W.  Jacob Lawrence.  New York, Whitney Museum of American Art.  Exhibition catalog. 1974. 
Quotes James Porter, p. 9  (1)

Igoe, Lynn Moody.  Artis, Bearden, and Burke: A Bibliography and Illustrations List.  Durham, NC, Museum of Art, 1977.
Porter, p. 3 (1)

Porter, James A.  "Negro Craftsmen and Artist of Pre-Civil War Days".  In: Newton, James E.  The Other Slaves, Mechanics, Artisans, and Craftsmen.  by James E. Newton and Ronald L. Lewis?  Boston, Hall, 1978, p. 209-220

Igoe, Lynn Moody.  250 Years of Afro-American art; An Annotated Bibliography, Lynn Moody Igoe with James Igoe.  New York, Bowker, 1981.    p.

Davis, Lenwood G.  Black Artists in the United States; An Annotated Bibliography of Books, Articles, and Dissertations on Black Artists, 1779-1979, by Lenwood G. Davis and Janet L. Sims.  Westport, Conn, Greenwood Press, 1980. 

Biography from the Archives of askART
Biography photo for James Amos Porter

The following is from Artnoir Showcase:

JAMES AMOS PORTER: Dean of Afro-American Art History (1905-1970). He received his Bachelor of Arts with honors from Howard University in 1927 and his Masters of Art in art history from New York University in 1937. In 1943, his classic book Modern Negro Art was published and reprinted with a new introducation by David Driskell in 1992 (Howard University Press). In 1953 he was appointed Head of the Dept of Art and Director of the University gallery. In 1961 he was a delegate at the UNESCO Conference on Africa (Boston, Ma) In 1962, he was a delegate-member of the International Congress on African Art and Culture held in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia.

In 1963-64 he lived, travelled, and painted in Lagos, Nigeria and other places in Africa. Later, he travelled to Brazil to research African influence and contribution to Brazilian colonial and modern art and Latin American art and culture.

His works were exhibited in the Harmon Foundation Exhibition from 1929-1933. Other works are owned by the National Portrait Gallery; National Museum of American Art; National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Mu Lamda Chapter, Washington, D.C.; Delta Sigma Theta, National Headquarters; DuSable Museum; Fisk University, Carl Van Vechten Gallery; Howard University; NAACP, NYC; Mary Church Terrell School, Washington, D.C.; Virginia State College, Main Library; Medical College of Philadelphia and many other locations. Woman Reading is currently being exhibited at the American Ambassdor's resident, Geneva, Switzerland through the Art in Embassies Program of the State Dept.

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About  James Amos Porter

Born:  1905 - Baltimore, Maryland
Died:   1970 - Washington, D.C.
Known for:  figure-genre, portrait and still life painting

Essays referring to
James Amos Porter

Black American Artists