Joan Ludman, an art historian with expertise in prints, developed a deep interest in the work of Fairfield Porter while living in Westbury, Long Island. She compiled and published a catalogue raisonné of Porter's prints in 1981, and another of his paintings, watercolors, and pastels in 2001. Now retired, Mrs. Ludman lives in Florida.
By the early 1970s, Joan Ludman had amassed a sizeable amount of information about Fairfield Porter and considered writing a biography. Instead, with the help of Anne Porter, the artist's widow, she began researching Porter's prints. The result was Fairfield Porter: A Catalogue Raisonné of his Prints. It was published by Highland House Publishers, Inc., a company established by Mrs. Ludman in order to assure her own standards and control the book's quality and cost.
At the same time she was compiling the catalogue raisonné of Porter's prints, Ludman was collaborating with Lauris Mason on other projects - a catalogue raisonné of George Bellow's lithographs, an anthology of essays, and five selected bibliographies about prints and printmaking. She also organized "Prints from Fairfield Porter from the Lauris and Daniel J. Mason Collection," an exhibition that traveled to several venues in 1982 and 1983.
The Estate of Fairfield Porter donated a substantial number of paintings to the Parrish Art Museum in 1979. The museum agreed to publish a catalogue raisonné, and arrangements were formalized the following year. Twice during the early 1980s, art historians who committed to writing the monograph lost interest. The project languished due to administrative problems and the discouragingly high cost of publishing such a volume. By 1988, it was apparent that the museum could not comply with the agreement. Knowing Joan Ludman's work on the catalogue raisonné of Porter's prints, Mrs. Porter approached her about the catalogue raisonné of his paintings. The highly regarded Fairfield Porter: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Watercolors, and Pastels was published by Hudson Hills Press, Inc.
Painter Fairfield Porter (1907-1975) was known for portraits, landscapes, and still life paintings. Also a critic and writer, Porter was an editorial associate with Art News in the 1950's, wrote for The Nation, published poetry, and a monograph on Thomas Eakins.