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Arthur Clifton Goodwin
"Trinity Church, Boston" Arthur Clifton Goodwin, Impressionism, Snowy Winter

1928

About the Item

Arthur Clifton Goodwin Trinity Church, Boston, 1928 Signed lower left Oil on canvas 30 x 36 inches Provenance: Sotheby’s New York, American Art, May 24, 1990, Lot 166 Private Collection, Washington, D.C. (acquired from the above) Recognized for his sensitive, plein-air depictions of urban Boston, Arthur Clifton Goodwin was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1864. Around 1872, following his father's death, he moved with his mother to Chelsea, Massachusetts. During the 1880s and 1890s he earned his living in a variety of ways, working at one point as a salesman for a wholesale paper firm. A colorful individual, he was active as a dancer and was frequently referred to as the local "dandy." He did not decide to pursue an artistic career until 1900, when, encouraged by the painter Louis Kronberg (1872-1965), he began to paint and draw on his own, working out of Kronberg's Boston studio. It was not long before he had acquired a steady clientele, drawn to his vigorous renderings of the city's parks, docks, and plazas. In 1921, Arthur Goodwin moved to New York City. As well as maintaining a studio in Washington Square, he also resided on a farm in Chatham, New York. During these years he produced a number of rural scenes. However, the streets of both Boston and New York remained his preferred subject matter. Although his palette was slightly darkened by the influence of the Ashcan School, an optimistic attitude towards urban life continued to pervade his work. He remained in New York until early 1929, when he returned to Boston. A few months later, just prior to departing on his first trip to Europe, he died due to an over-consumption of alcohol. Working in both oil and pastel, Arthur Goodwin developed a highly individual approach to the Impressionist aesthetic, one that combined the spontaneous application of paint with a personal response to the nuances of light and color and the subject matter itself. Despite his notoriety among local collectors, he adhered to his earlier bohemian lifestyle and did not participate in the local cultural milieu. As one writer has pointed out, it was probably the "absence of European training, European travel, and over-intellectualization of Goodwin's life" that allowed his art to evolve in such a personal manner.1 A member of the Guild of Boston Artists, Arthur Goodwin exhibited locally at the St. Botolph and Union Clubs, Doll and Richards, Vose Galleries, and at the Copley Gallery. His work was also shown at the National Academy of Design and Milch Galleries in New York, the Brooklyn Museum, and at the Art Institute of Chicago. He is represented in numerous public and private collections throughout the northeast, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts; and the Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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