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Robert Goodnough

(1917 - 2010)
Robert Goodnough was an American painter known for his calligraphy like mark making. Though he was associated with the Abstract Expressionists, Goodnough’s work varied in style and often eluded categorization. “I like to work freely, to slash with the brush and let loose, I also like to work carefully and with discipline,” he once explained.

Born on October 23, 1917 in Cortland, NY, Goodnough graduated from Syracuse University, and painted in a representational style early on in his career. After serving in the military during World War II, he attended the painting classes of both Amédée Ozenfant and Hans Hofmann. The artist went on to receive his MA from New York University after which he began to exhibit his paintings publicly , and soon fell into a milieu of artists and writers that included Willem de Kooning and Helen Frankethaler.

Goodnough was among the 24 artists from the total of 256 participants who were included in the famous 9th Street Art Exhibition (1951) and in all the following New York Painting and Sculpture Annuals from 1953 to 1957. These Annuals were important because the participants were chosen by the artists themselves.

He taught at Cornell University, New York University and the Fieldston School in New York City. He was a contributing writer for Art News from 1950-1957.

He had shown at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York City from 1952 to 1970 and again from 1984 to 1986. In 1960 and 1961 he had solo exhibitions at The Art Institute of Chicago. A veteran of scores of solo exhibitions and hundreds of group exhibitions in the United States and abroad, Goodnough also had solo exhibitions in 1969 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.

In later years his paintings were also associated with the Color Field movement. In 1992 he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member, and became a full Academician in 1994.


Goodnough died on October 2, 2010 in White Plains, NY at the age of 92.

His works are held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Baltimore Museum of Art; Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama; Newark Museum, New Jersey; and the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, among others.