Fairfield Porter's Secret Geometry

Chris Bartlett
Renaissance Banff: Mathematics, Music, Art, Culture (2005)
Pages 17–24


Fairfield Porter (1907-1975), an important American painter, is known as a painterly realist. He professed an intuitive and empirical approach to the subject matter and writings about his work usually claim there is no formal geometry to his composition. This paper traces influences on Porter’s art that support his use of the golden section and dynamic symmetry and analyzes his painting to reveal a detailed geometric structure to even the most abstract of his works.