Betty Goodwin

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Betty Goodwin
Photo of Betty Goodwin.jpg
Betty Roodish

(1923-03-19)March 19, 1923
DiedDecember 1, 2008(2008-12-01) (aged 85)
Montreal, Quebec
Spouse(s)Martin Goodwin

Betty Roodish Goodwin, CM RCA (March 19, 1923 – December 1, 2008) was a multidisciplinary Canadian artist who expressed the complexity of human experience through her work.

Early life[edit]

Goodwin was born in Montreal, the only child of Romanian immigrants Clare Edith and Abraham Roodish.[1] She enjoyed painting and drawing as a child, and was encouraged by her mother to pursue art. Goodwin's father, a factory owner in Montreal, died when she was nine. After graduating from high school, she studied design at Valentine's Commercial School of Art in Montreal.[1]


In her work, Goodwin used a 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.[2] 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.[2] Goodwin launched her career as a painter and printmaker in the late 1940s. During the 1950s and 60s Goodwin created still life paintings. She also depicted scenes of Montreal's Jewish Community.[1]

In 1968, she enrolled in an etching class with Yves Gaucher at Sir George Williams University in Montreal.[2] It was there where she began working with found objects and clothing and how they held traces of life, in her prints, which brought her international attention.[3] Dissatisfied with her work, she destroyed most of it and in 1968 she limited herself to drawing.[2] From 1972 to 1974, she created a series of wall hangings entitled Tarpaulin , 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, a project which 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 for her drawings.[4] Two more series followed: La mémoire du corps (1990–1995) and Nerves (1993–1995).[4]

She died in December 2008 in Montreal.


She was married to Martin Goodwin, a civil engineer (d. 2008). Their son Paul died at 30 of a drug overdose.[2]

Selected exhibitions[edit]

Solo exhibitions[5]

  • 1976 - Betty Goodwin 1969-76, Musee d'art contemporian, Montreal, Quebec
  • 1996 - Betty Goodwin: Signs of Life, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
  • 1998 - The Art of Betty Goodwin, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
  • 2002 - The Prints of Betty Goodwin, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

Group exhibitions[5]

  • 1955 - Print Exhibition, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Quebec
  • 1967 - Burnaby Print Show, Burnaby Art Gallery, Burnaby, BC
  • 1974 - Spanish International Biennial Exhibition of Fine Prints, Segovia, Spain
  • 1986 - Installations-Fictions, Galerie Graff, Montreal, Quebec
  • 1991 - Betty Goodwin, Espacc la Tranchefile, Montreal
  • 1993 - Fawbush Gallery; New York, New York; Les Femmeuses 92, Pratt et Whitney Canada, Montreal, Quebec
  • 1994 - La Ferme Du Buisson, Centre d'art contemporian, Noisiel, France
  • 1996 - Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
  • 1999 - Cosmos, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Quebec
  • 2000 - Odd Bodies, Oakville Galleries, Oakville, Ontario; Betty Goodwin, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, New York

Notable artworks[edit]

  • 1979: Rue Mentana
  • 1985: Moving Towards Fire
  • 1988-89: Steel Note

Selected collections[edit]

Her work is represented in many public collections, including the Art Gallery of Ontario,[6] the National Gallery of Canada,[7] the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal,[7] the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts,[7] the city of Burnaby art collection,[8] and the Winnipeg Art Gallery.[9]



  1. ^ a b c Pelham, Zachary. "Mundane Secrets". ArtsEditor. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e Johnson, Brian D. "Body Language." Maclean's Vol. 111, no. 48 (Nov. 30, 1998): 88-89.
  3. ^ "Betty Goodwin at Barbara Edwards Contemporary." Betty Goodwin at Barbara Edwards Contemporary. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Betty Goodwin". National Gallery of Canada. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Betty Roodish Goodwin Biography". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Collection". Art Gallery of Ontario. Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  7. ^ a b c "Artefacts Canada". Canadian Heritage Information Network. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  8. ^ Cane, Jennifer; van Eijnsbergen, Ellen (2017). The Ornament of a House: 50 Years of Collecting. Burnaby: Burnaby Art Gallery. pp. 64–65. ISBN 9781927364239.
  9. ^ "Canadian Art, Winnipeg Art Gallery". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Betty Goodwin". Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Multidisciplinary artist Betty Goodwin dies at 85". CBC. Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-10-03. Retrieved 2008-12-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "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
  • The Art of Betty Goodwin. Ed. by Jessica Bradley and Matthew Teitelbaum. Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 1998. Published in association with Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver. 192 pp. with 91 ills. (46 col.). 29 x 25 cm. LC 99-488135 ISBN 1550546503 In English.[1]
  • Betty Goodwin. Musee d'art Contemporain, Montreal, 1976. 32 pp. 28 x 22 cm. In French. Artist(s):Goodwin, Betty[1]
  • Betty Goodwin: Oeuvres De 1971 A 1987/Works from 1971 TO 1987. Yolande Racine. Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 1987. Organized and published by Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. 252 pp. (2 foldout) with 129 ills. (56 col.). 27 x 23 cm. ISBN 2891920821 Bilingual in French and English.[1]
  • Betty Goodwin: Parcours De L'oeuvre A Tracers La Collection Du Musee D'art Contemporain De Montreal (Betty Goodwin: Survey of the Oeuvre through the Collection of the Musee d'art contemporain, Montreal). Josee Belisle. Musee d'art contemporain, Montreal, 2009. 116 pp. with 54 col. ills. 25 x 20 cm. ISBN 9782551237838 Bilingual in French and English (biographical notes and brief entries in French only).[1]
  • Betty Goodwin: Steel Notes. France Morin et al. Canadian Section, 20a. Bienal Internacional de São Paulo, 1989. Organized and published by National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Distributed by University of Toronto Press. 152 pp. with 55 ills. (29 col.). 25 x 20 cm. ISBN 0888846029 Trilingual in Portuguese, English and French.[1]
  • The Prints of Betty Goodwin. Rosemarie L. Tovell et al. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 2002. Published in association with Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver. 248 pp. with 251 ills. (36 col.). 28 x 23 cm. LC 2002-483164 ISBN 1550549251 In English.[1]
  • Goodwin, Betty; Cindy Richmond, Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery, Winnipeg Art Gallery (1996). Betty Goodwin: icons. Regina: Mackenzie Art Gallery. ISBN 1896470017.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  • Scott, Kitty; Edmonton Art Gallery (1990). Betty Goodwin. Edmonton: Art Gallery. ISBN 0889500657.
  • Goodwin, Betty; New York Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art (1988). Betty Goodwin. New York?: 49th Parallel, Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art?.

External links[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Worldwide Books: Artist Results for Goodwin, Betty." Worldwide Books: Artist Results for Goodwin, Betty. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.