1. He was known for still life paintings, especially of apples
Porter is the first known professional Black artist to focus on still lifes, although older painters like Robert Seldon Duncanson did paint some. Featuring floral arrangements and fruit, Porter’s works built on earlier American still life paintings. Artists such as Raphaelle and James Peale were the first in the country paint in this new genre, which they popularized in the first half of the 19th century.
Apples were one of Porter’s specialties. One Hartford journalist wrote that his paintings of the fall crop were “the most perfect specimens of fruit painting we have ever seen,” while another termed them “extraordinary productions.”