Betty Goodwin

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Betty Goodwin
Born (1923-03-19)March 19, 1923
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Died December 1, 2008(2008-12-01) (aged 85)
Montreal, Quebec

Betty Roodish Goodwin, OC (March 19, 1923 – December 1, 2008) was a Canadian printmaker, sculptor, painter, and installation artist.

Early life[edit]

Born in Montreal the only child of Romanian immigrants Betty loved to paint and draw as a child, and was much encouraged by her mother to pursue art. Goodwin's father, a factory owner in Montreal, died when she was 9. After graduating from high school, she studied design at Valentine's Commercial School of Art in Montreal, then launched her career as a painter and printmaker in the late 1940s. In the 1960s, she enrolled in a printmaking class with Yves Gaucher at Sir George Williams University in Montreal. Dissatisfied with her work, she destroyed most of it and in 1968 she limited herself to drawing.[1] She was married to Martin Goodwin, a civil engineer (d. 2008). Their son Paul died at 30 of a drug overdose.[1]


Betty Goodwin used a large variety of media, including collage, sculpture, printmaking, painting and drawing, assemblage and etchings. Her subject matter almost always revolves around the human form and deals with it in a highly emotional way.[1] Many of her ideas came from clusters of photographs, objects or drawings on the walls in her studio. She also used the “germ” of ideas that are left after being erased from a work.[1] During the 1950's and 60's Goodwin painted still-lifes. She also depicted scenes of Montreal's Jewish Community. She became interested in found objects, particularly how they represent traces of life. She created copper plate impressions of items of clothing to produce a series of etchings, entitled Vest, which gained international attention. Goodwin created a series of wall hangings entitled Tarpaulin from 1972-`974, which she reworked to shape into sculptures and collages. Over a period of six years beginning in 1982, Goodwin explored the human form in her drawing series Swimmers, this project used graphite, oil pastels and charcoal on translucent Mylar. The large-scale drawings depict solitary floating or sinking bodies, suspended in space. In 1986, to show the interaction of human figures she created her series Carbon using charcoal and wax to create drawings.[2]

Other Notable Artworks

  • 1979: Rue Mentana
  • 1985: Moving Towards Fire
  • 1988-89: Steel Note
  • 1990-95: La Memoire du corps series (Memory of the Body)


Solo Exhibitions[3]


  • The Prints of Betty Goodwin, National Gallery of Canada; Ottawa
  • Recent Works, Jack Shainman Gallery; New York


  • Galerie Rene Blouin; Montreal


  • The Art of Betty Goodwin, Art Gallery of Ontario; Toronto

Group Exhibitions[3]


  • Old Bodies, Oakville Galleries; Oakville, Ontario
  • Betty Goodwin, Jack Shainman Gallery; New York, New York


  • Cosmos, Musee des beaux-arts de Montreal; Montreal, Quebec


  • Sable-Castelli Gallery; Toronto, Ontario


  • Stephen Friedman Gallery; London
  • Betty Goodwin: Signs of Life, The National Gallery of Canada; Ottawa


  • La Ferme Du Buisson, Centre d’art contemporian; Noisiel, France


  • Fawbush Gallery; New York, New York
  • Les Femmeuses 92, Pratt et Whitney Canada; Montreal, Quebec


  • Betty Goodwin, Espacc la Tranchefile; Montreal


  • Galerie Rene Blouin; Montreal, Ontario


  • Installations-Fictions, Galerie Graff; Montreal, Quebec


  • Sable-Castelli Gallery; Toronto, Ontario


  • Betty Goodwin 1969-76, Musee d’art contemporian; Montreal, Quebec


  • Spanish International Biennial Exhibition of Fine Prints; Segovia, Spain


  • Galerie B Montreal


  • Burnaby Print Show, Burnaby Art Gallery; Vancouver, BC


  • Penthouse Gallery, Crown Life Insurance; Montreal


  • Pring Exhibition, Musee des Beaux-Arts de Montreal; Montreal, Quebec

Career highlights[edit]

Goodwin's work has been exhibited in Montreal since the early 60s, with some significant solo shows. Other exhibitions have taken place elsewhere in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. She was chosen to represent Canada in the Venice Biennial in 1995. In 1996, she was acknowledged with an exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada, Betty Goodwin: Signs of Life. In 2003, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. She died in December 2008 in Montreal.

Betty Goodwin's work is represented in many public collections including the Winnipeg Art Gallery,[4] Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal,[5] and the National Gallery of Canada.[5]



  1. ^ a b c d Johnson, Brian D. "Body Language." Maclean's Vol. 111, no. 48 (Nov. 30, 1998): 88-89.
  2. ^ "Betty Goodwin". National Gallery of Canada. Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Betty Roodish Goodwin Biography". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "Canadian Art, Winnipeg Art Gallery". Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Artefacts Canada". Canadian Heritage Information Network. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-10-03. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  7. ^ "Members since 1880". Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bogardi, Georges. "The Studio: In her reconfigurations of ideas and found materials, Betty Goodwin transforms life into art." Canadian Art Vol. 11, no. 3 (Fall 1994): 86-93.
  • Bradley, Jessica and Matthew Teitelbaum, eds. The Art of Betty Goodwin. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1998. ISBN 1-55054-650-3
  • Driedger, Sharon Doyle. "Bodies and Blood: Betty Goodwin depicts profound inner landscapes". Maclean's Vol. 108, no. 49 (Dec. 4, 1995): 74.
  • Enright, Robert. "A Bloodstream of Images: an interview with Betty Goodwin." Border Crossings Vol. 14, no. 4 (Fall 1995): 42-53.
  • Goodwin, Betty. Betty Goodwin: Passages. Montreal: Concordia Art Gallery, 1986. ISBN 2-920394-12-6
  • Kirshner, Sheldon. "Betty Goodwin: Canada's Grande Dame of Art." The Canadian Jewish News Vol. 29, no. 2 (Jan. 14, 1999): 11.
  • Morin, France and Sanford Kwinter. Steel Notes, Betty Goodwin. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1989. ISBN 0-88884-602-9

External links[edit]