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Anne T. Goodman: Paintings and Sculpture
By Richard N. Gregg
The Trustees and Staff of the Allentown Art Museum are pleased to present this exhibition of work by Anne Taube Goodman. While she is a strong and unique personality, who has had heights and depths of both joy and tragedy during her long life, it is her visionary sculpture, paintings and monoprints that concern us as a public art organization. Through these tangible items one may experience the sharp contrast between the pleasure of living and the spiritual profundity underlying it, keeping in mind that the true worth of an artist is reflected in his work.
This is a display of opposites: colorful, two-dimensional pieces which sing pleasant songs, and the three-dimensional objects which suggest a mystic philosophy.
Mrs. Goodman's paintings and monoprints were created to delight the eye. The subjects are basically wide, open outdoor spaces she has seen, or more likely imagined. None of them are abstractions, yet she obviously has been influenced by late 20th century expressionism. It is her superb use of color which first attracts the viewer: warm pinks and oranges; cool blues and greens; arresting yellows and golds. Employment of interesting textures through paint application complement each successfully. The term "monoprint" simply means that only one can be made at a time by placing paper upside down on a smooth palette of prepared paint, pressing it on the back, removing it and then reworking the discovered impression any way the artist wishes. Her oils and watercolors are easy to live with. They are undemanding, rich tonally and decoratively satisfying.
Her sculpture is something else and is a surprise if only the paintings are known. They, too, are satisfying and well made, but they speak a quite different language and in a different tone. The subjects are metaphysical, mythical, religious, spiritual and, in a few cases, whimsical. Being aesthetically pleasing alone was not the underlying motivation...it was the expression, the unlashing of profound personal concepts about life and death that concerned the artist. These are historic, epic, universal themes, hardly restricted to a well-appointed living room. Many makers of art would shy away from such major issues. All of the bronze sculptures were, of course, initially cast from flexible clay, and this freedom of manipulation is evident.
Everything an artist creates is a mirror of himself and cannot be avoided. Naturally this can be both good and bad. If, however, one is truly sincere about his work, this honesty will be projected eventually. Does Mrs. Goodman have a dual personality, as might be thought by the polarity of her work? Not necessarily, if one looks to her background.
Born in Newark, New Jersey, the youngest of six children, she accompanied her family to Philadelphia at age one. There she attended school and later Temple University, with the intention of becoming a concert pianist. Encouraged by her father, who was a designer of women's clothing, she early led a culturally enriched life. At age 18 she married David Goodman, a successful land developer, and moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania. Here she became active in community affairs, especially the founding of the Lehigh Valley Art Alliance and the Allentown Art Museum in the 1930s. During the early 1940s, she went to art classes at Muhlenberg College, taught by the nationally-known painter Phillip Evergood, who invited her to display work at the A.C.A. Gallery in New York City. He and Yoshuo Kunjoshi were most helpful in her creative progress. The years between 1953 and 1968 were exceedingly difficult and almost reclusive, looking after her then ill husband; in fact, during the period she did no art work. At Mr. Goodman's death in 1964, she moved back to Philadelphia and in 1979 permanently to Palm Beach, Florida.
Something unexplainable happened to Mrs. Goodman in 1981. That year, and especially 1982, was a time of vast production, almost an explosion of inventive energies. In fact, the majority of the paintings in this exhibition date from then, as does the sculpture to which she first seriously turned. Some might describe this show as an example of "late blooming"; but, if so, the blossom has been well nurtured by life's rich experiences. More important, we have here a fascinating juxtaposition: decorative and profound, light and dark, good and evil. I personally call all this inspiring.
Mrs. Goodman wanted special thanks expressed to her Palm Beach art dealer, Bryna Raskin Prensky and to Luis Montoya, who cast her sculpture. Most of all, she wishes it known that her son and daughter-in-law, Murray and Joanie Goodman, have given constant encouragement and support. Her gratitude, mine, and that of the Museum is also extended to the Goodmans who helped make this exhibition possible, as they did in 1977 with the important, "French Masterpieces from the Henry P Mcilhenny Collection:' Mr. Goodman is a loyal trustee of this institution.
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