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Nymphs and Satyr, by William Bouguereau (Detail)
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Albert
Goodwin
born 1845- died 1932


Biographical Information

Albert Goodwin was born in Maidstone, England in 1845, just three years before the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded, and two years after the publication of Ruskin’s first volume of Modern Painters. These dates are significant because it was in the artistic circles generated by Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelites that Goodwin developed as an artist – first in the studio of Arthur Hughes, then under the supervision of F M Brown, and finally as a protégé of Ruskin. Although the Pre-Raphaelites were not primarily landscape painters, their views on ‘truth to nature’, and their practice of working directly from nature for the landscape settings of their pictures, inevitably influenced most contemporary landscape painters in the 1850s and 1860s; and in his Notes on Prout and Hunt, Ruskin quite rightly described Goodwin’s work as having been ‘founded first on strong Pre-Raphaelite veracities…’. Goodwin was, in fact, extremely fortunate in being taught by Brown, who is by far the most original and interesting of the landscape painters associated with the Pre-Raphaelite circle; however, despite Brown’s devotion to the concept of truth to nature, and working sur le motif, his landscapes are, in the final analysis, strangely artificial – reminiscent of the magical realism of Palmer’s Shoreham period rather than the naturalism of Constable, Cox or De Wint. Similarly, Goodwin’s landscapes are invariably infused with a poetic charm that raises them above mere description; indeed, one critic complimented him for having that ‘peculiar faculty of painting a natural scene with an undercurrent of supernatural feeling’.

Like Turner, Goodwin was a master of all the techniques used in water-colour painting, employing at various times (and not infrequently all together) watercolour, bodycolour, pen and ink, chalk, pastel and gum, on white or tinted papers, with the whole sometimes neatly enclosed in a beautifully designed, hand-painted border. In order to achieve the subtle lighting effects associated with dawn and sunset – his favourite times of the day – he wiped and scraped and ‘…hammered at them with the blade of a safety-razor, a knife, sandpaper, sponge, rag, and a fitch brush!!! So many are the expedients that the despairing water-colour painter in the last has to resort to’.

By Hammond Smith Author and Biographer of Albert Goodwin, Leigh-on-Sea: F Lewis, 1977

Compliments of Chris Beetles - www.chrisbeetles.com

Articles on Albert Goodwin Compiled by Chris Beetles:

His Life and Work
by Hammond Smith

Bogie and the Professor
by David Wooton

A Sketchbook of 1872
by David Wooton

Why Albert Goodwin Matters
by Godfrey Barker

Art Renewal Center Articles about Albert Goodwin

Articles on Albert Goodwin
Bogie and the Professor
A Sketchbook of 1872
Why Albert Goodwin Matters
Albert Goodwin: His Life and Work

   Artist Portraits

The Rain From Heaven, All Souls, Oxford

-1922
Watercolour, Pencil, touches o
35.56 x 52.3875 cm
(14" x 20.62")
Private collection

Added: 2007-12-18

Though he was influenced by both Turner and the Pre-Raphaelites, Goodwin's talent and unique personality managed to emerge from the shadows of his famous influencers. There is an almost mystical quality to many of Goodwin's landscapes, of beauty touched by strangeness. Many of Goodwin's pictures are of picturesque structures, ruined castles, looming bridges, or Gothic spires reaching out of the clouds of weather, or the fog of night. One cannot help but sense vast and different worlds swirling around our heaviest monuments, as if portals to other times and places were all around us. His painting of Westminster, for instance, looks as if that wonderful building was emerging from a rampaging fire; while his Benares seems almost to emerge from the gloom of a dark dream. The Rain From Heaven, All Souls, Oxford has this dreamlike quality. The church emerges from the clouds and mist, almost hovering before the viewer like a gray illusion. The picture, in watercolor, pencil, and, heightened with white body color, is a masterwork. The spires are suggested rather than delineated, as the suggestions of a gifted minimalist. No information is lost, and a definite sense of place is secured. The faint hint of a greater London in the distance works to ground All Souls in reality, as does the tiny, umbrella-carrying figures in the left foreground. The sun tries to pierce the gloom overhead, as if an appeal from heaven. Goodwin has created a realistic impression of rain, mist and fog, through the use of lost and found contour lines. The gray haze hovering over All Souls (and London beyond) is opaque and heavy with water. In fact, that Goodwin was able to neuter the natural luminosity of watercolor is a sign of his virtuosity. It is a monochromatic virtuoso.

- By James Abbot
Adapted from an article first published August 31, 2011 on the Jade Sphinx

The Rain From Heaven, All Souls, Oxford
Venice

-1902
Oil on board
32.385 x 48.26 cm
(12¾" x 19")
Private collection

Added: 2007-12-13
Venice
Apocalypse

-1903
Watercolour and bodycolour on
27.305 x 44.45 cm
(10¾" x 17½")
Private collection

Added: 2007-12-21
Apocalypse
The Sea Raiders

-1916
Oil on canvas
59.69 x 88.9 cm
(23½" x 35")
Private collection (United States)

Added: 2007-12-21
The Sea Raiders
Wesminster

Watercolour
Private collection

Added: 2008-01-22
Benares

Watercolour
Private collection

Added: 2008-01-22
Cairo

-1905
Watercolor, pen and ink on pap
25.4 x 35.56 cm
(10" x 14")
Private collection

Added: 2007-12-13
Cairo
Durham

-1900
Watercolour
25.4 x 35.56 cm
(10" x 14")
Private collection

Added: 2007-12-13
Durham
Lucerne

Watercolour and bodycolour
43.815 x 30.1625 cm
(17¼" x 11.87")
Private collection

Added: 2007-12-13
Lucerne
Ali Baba abd the Forty Thieves

Oil on canvas
106.045 x 139.7 cm
(41¾" x 55")
Tate Britain (London, United Kingdom)

Added: 2007-12-24
Ali Baba abd the Forty Thieves