A native of Chicago, David Porter moved to Washington, D.C. in 1942, where he was an economist for the War Production Board and also founded his own David Porter Gallery, exhibiting artists including Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Jimmy Ernst, Robert Motherwell, and Mark Rothko. He also assembled “theme shows” that museums around the country rented from him. In 1946, he closed the gallery, moved to New York City, and began to paint seriously in the abstract expressionism style of his contemporaries, while at the same time, working in the publishing business. In 1951, he was invited to participate in the “9th Street Show,” and a year later he had his first one-man show. In the mid-1950’s, he went to work for Cosmopolitan Magazine, soon becoming publisher of the magazine.
In 1958, he resigned from the publishing business to devote full time to painting. He had won the first place award at the Provincetown Arts Festival, and the Chrysler Art Museum, then in Provincetown, had purchased 23 of his paintings representing all periods of his work to date. The following year he made his first trip to Europe, found a studio in Rome, and participated in two International Exhibitions, where he won the first prize Gold Medal bestowed by Italy’s president. In 1961, he was introduced as a “New Talent” at the museum of Modern Art in New York. His show got rave reviews and he sold 16 paintings.
He was also artist-in-residence at Dartmouth College in 1964, taught figure drawing at Cooper Union in Manhattan, and delivered lectures and gave demonstrations on acrylic relief sculpture at the Corcoran Museum Art School in Washington. Over the years of his artistic career, David Porter had a total of 32 one-man shows, in addition to group exhibitions in galleries and museums in the U.S. and Europe.
Born as Edwin David Porter, he preferred his middle name, using it exclusively through his adult life.
He died in November of 2005.