Fairfield Porter’s self-portrait from 1972 is a prime example of contemporary realism. Being well-known for painting his family, friends and surroundings, Porter depicted himself in the studio with brush and paint palette in hand. He combined a self-portrait with a portrait of his 10-year-old daughter in “The Mirror”. The composition of this painting is complex because of the mirror acting as a picture-within-a-picture.
Porter’s works were grounded in the real world, contrasting against the prevailing abstraction that was common within American art during his time. His style draws influences from intimiste depictions used by artists like Bonnard and Vuillard, as well as de Kooning’s lush paint handling. In addition to “The Mirror”, he has also painted other self-portraits of himself in the studio.
It is important to note that Porter drew from multiple styles but still managed to stay true to his own unique style which was more centered on reality than purely abstract or surrealistic art movements at that time. This particular piece provides an insight into his persona as well as serves as an example of how an artist can use themselves and their immediate surroundings as inspiration for their work.