Goodnough, Robert (1917-2010)

Horses (1960)

Horses (1960)






In 1946 Goodnough moved to Manhattan. He studied at the Ozenfant School of Fine Arts and attended Hans Hofmann’s celebrated summer school in Provincetown, Mass., where he met the artists Alfred Leslie and Larry Rivers and the critic Clement Greenberg. At meetings of the Club, a famous downtown discussion group made up mostly of abstract painters, he became friends with Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko.

Greenberg and the art historian Meyer Schapiro selected him to exhibit in a group show of emerging artists at the Kootz Gallery in 1950, and two years later he had his first important one-man show, at Tibor de Nagy. He also contributed to Art News, where he wrote “Pollock Paints a Picture,” one of the most celebrated of the magazine’s artist-at-work articles, with now-legendary photographs of Jackson Pollock in his studio by Hans Namuth.

After earning a master’s degree in art education from New York University in 1950, he taught carpentry at the Fieldston School in the Bronx until 1960, when he began making a living from his art.

Mr. Goodnough’s earlier work, influenced by Mondrian, Matisse and Synthetic Cubism, deployed patches and strokes of paint that suggested tumult and frenetic activity. “Some of his thicket-like designs throb with the fervor of an old symbolic representation of the Burning Bush, while others have the formal, explicit robustness of Léger,” Stuart Preston wrote in a New York Times review of a 1962 show.

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