Rufus Porter’s Curious World: Art and Invention in America, 1815–1860

Museum of Art Museum of Art

Exhibition: Rufus Porter’s Curious World: Art and Invention in America, 1815–1860

Dates:

Location:

Halford Gallery, Bernard and Barbro Osher Gallery
This exhibition celebrates the artist and inventor Rufus Porter (1792–1884), an imaginative polymath and entrepreneur curious about art, science, and communication technologies.

Works

Unidentified Gentleman, ca. 1825, probably Massachusetts, watercolor, ink, and graphite, attributed to Rufus Porter, American, 1792–1884. Private Collection. Photography by Ralph Morang.
Rufus Porter, inventor, unidentified engraver, Plumb and Level Indicator, ca. 1846, New York, N.Y., hand-colored engraving, metal pointer, wooden frame. Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine. Photography by Luc Demers.
“The Travelling Balloon,” Scientific American (New York, N.Y.), September 18, 1845, by Rufus Porter, American, 1792–1884. Courtesy American Antiquarian Society.
Rufus Porter, designer, Masthead of Scientific American, August 8, 1845, New York, N.Y. Private Collection.

About

This exhibition celebrates the artist and inventor Rufus Porter (1792–1884), an imaginative polymath and entrepreneur curious about art, science, and communication technologies. Arousing and connecting the public through diverse activities, Porter was a visionary who foresaw in his moment—antebellum America—the heady dreams of our current networked culture. Presenting new research and long-hidden objects, the exhibition returns Porter to his rightful place, the national stage. Examples of Porter's paintings, publications, and patent models are being generously lent from public and private collections, many exhibited for the first time.