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Robert Goodnough (American, 1917-2010)


Also known as:  Goodnough, Robert Arthur

Birth Place: Cortland, NY USA


Who was painter Robert Goodnough?

Robert Arthur Goodnough was an American painter whose work transcended a number of different categories. At various times in his career, he was identified with the abstract expressionists, the cubists, and the color field movements. Goodnough always shirked away from these comparisons, in doing some he created a 50+ year career that left him both a mercurial firebrand and an artistic visionary. 

His work was exhibited during his lifetimes at some of the greatest galleries in the world, including the Tibor de Nagy and Andre Emmerich’s. Wider fame often eluded Goodnough, who was put-off by the idea of self-promotion. Even so, he did mount a one-man exhibition at The Whitney and at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery of Buffalo, NY. 

What kind of art does Robert Goodnough make?

Robert Arthur Goodnough made color field paintings that moved between the aesthetics of abstract expressionism and its eventual descendants. His early work used caligraphy, intense splashes of primary color and repeated motion, a trend that eventually settled into pastels by the beginning fo the 1970s. His free “slashing” movement with his brushwork makes his paintings instantly recognizable, like a Miles Davis or Herbie Hancock solo. His work has often been described as chaotic or kinetic -- set apart from any specific time or aesthetic movement. It is wholly original. 

How did painter Robert Goodnough get started?

Robert Arthur Goodnough was born in Cortland, New York, growing up in the Finger Lakes area of the state. He graduated with an art degree from Syracuse University in 1940 and was subsequently drafted into an Army field artillery unit during World War II. After the war he moved to Manhattan where he studied at the Ozenfant School of Fine Arts. During his time at Hans Hofmann’s summer school, he met Alfred Leslie who asked him to join The Club, a discussion group for abstract painters. During this time Goodnough would make friends with Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko, both influences for the young artist. He exhibited his first show at the Kootz Gallery in 1950.

How much are Robert Goodnough paintings worth?

Robert Arthur Goodnough’s paintings are worth a few thousand dollars for minor pieces and up to $50,000 for major works. He is the rare affordable generational artist because of his relatively late-in-life fame. The most ever paid for a Robert Arthur Goodnough was $52,500 for the painting Circle With Red (1963) on May 10th, 2018. It sold for over ten times the low estimate, even beating the high estimate by a whopping $45,000. Robert Arthur Goodnough is enjoying a large resurgence in the art community as of late. It would be wise for prospective collectors to grab one now before they aren’t available. 

Where to buy Robert Goodnough paintings for sale?

See works for sale below. Why buy from Heritage? Art buyers feel confident because our experts know the market and put careful valuations on artwork for sale. We make the bidding process easier to help you expand your art collection.

How to value Robert Arthur Goodnough paintings?

The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services department.

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