George Woodman

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George Edgar Woodman (April 27, 1932 – March 23, 2017) was an American ceramicist, painter, and photographer.[1][2][3]


Woodman went to Harvard University and married Betty Woodman (née Elizabeth Abrahams) in 1953.[4][5]

After earning a master's degree in painting at the University of New Mexico, he taught painting and art criticism at the University of Colorado at Boulder until 1996.[3][4] The Woodmans moved to New York in 1980 and have a second home in Italy, where they have spent their summers.[4][6][7]

The Woodmans' son, Charles, was born in 1955 and became Associate Professor of Electronic Art at the University of Cincinnati.[8][9]

Their daughter was photographer Francesca Woodman; she was born in 1958 and died by suicide in 1981. Woodman selected some of his daughter's journal entries for publication in the book Francesca Woodman edited by Chris Townsend (Phaidon, 2006).[10][11]


George Woodman died in his home in New York on March 23, 2017, aged 84.[12]


Until the early 1970s, George Woodman painted the ceramic work of Betty Woodman.[4][6] His own ceramic art includes a 1991 tile mural Ode to the West Wind in the Temple Buell Theater in Denver, Colorado[4][13][14][15] and a 2004 tile mural Path Games at the Detroit People Mover's Renaissance Center Station.[16][17][18]

Path Games was a replacement for Dreamers and Voyagers Come to Detroit, a similar tile mural also by Woodman created in 1987 for the original Renaissance Center Station, which had to be demolished to allow removal of the concrete berms in front of the building.[citation needed]


From the 1950s to the 1980s, Woodman's artistic output consisted largely of colorful oil paintings on canvas.[3][19] His earliest paintings in the 1950s to the early 1960s were landscapes.[3][20]

In the early 1960s, he painted abstract works "with heavy, painterly brush strokes," but by the mid-1960s "the paint was applied thinly and evenly" in his abstracts.[3] In the 1970s, as a mentor of the Colorado Criss-Cross artists' cooperative, Woodman was associated with the Pattern and Decoration movement.[3][5][14][21][22][23] His paintings have been exhibited in at least two solo shows: "Sensuality in a World of Reason" in 1998[3][14] and "George Woodman: Paintings 1960-2000” in 2007.[20][24]


Since the early 1980s, Woodman has concentrated on black-and-white photography.[2][3][19] The photographs in a 1991 New York exhibition were described as having an "antique, romantic air", with a "reliance on images from art history."[1] In 1998, the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Italy, displayed 78 of Woodman's "highly constructed" photographs that were "based on its own collection."[2]

The 1998 exhibition "Sensuality in a World of Reason" included multiple-exposure photographs with overlapping human figures, buildings, and sculptures.[3][14] A 2002 exhibition in Chennai, India, which was entitled "Truths and Fictions," included Woodman's photographs of photographs.[25][26][27] His large-format, black-and-white, still life camera obscura photographs were exhibited in 2004; they involved techniques such as collage-like arrangements, long exposures with movement of objects, and combinations of positive and negative images.[21]


  1. ^ a b Hagen, Charles. Art in review, The New York Times, December 27, 1991; accessed 2007-08-19.
  2. ^ a b c Budney, Jen. George Woodman at Palazzo Pitti. Art in America, February 1998. Accessed 2007-08-19.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Paglia, Michael. Patterns that connect, Denver Westword, April 23, 1998.
  4. ^ a b c d e Chandler, Mary Voelz. Met exhibit honors artist's feats of clay: Betty Woodman taught in Boulder, Rocky Mountain News, April 22, 2006; accessed 2007-08-19.
  5. ^ a b Duncan, Michael. Woodman's decorative impulse: shown in a recent retrospective at the Metropolitan, Betty Woodman's spirited ceramic works embrace theatricality and modernist fragmentation. Art in America, November 2006. Accessed 2007-08-19.
  6. ^ a b Schjeldahl, Peter. Decoration myths: Betty Woodman’s ceramics. New Yorker, May 15, 2006. Accessed 2007-08-19.
  7. ^ Perreault, John. Betty Woodman: The Joys of Negative Space (review),, January 1997; accessed 2007-08-19.
  8. ^ Video works Charles Woodman, photographs Francesca Woodman, May 6 - June 16, 2005. Notes for an exhibition at Shirley-Jones Gallery, Yellow Springs, Ohio. Accessed 2007-08-19.
  9. ^ Charles Woodman page at University of Cincinnati; accessed 2007-08-19.
  10. ^ Publisher's page for book Francesca Woodman., Accessed 2007-08-19.
  11. ^ Fredrickson, Lori. Book review: Francesca Woodman Archived 2008-08-21 at the Wayback Machine. Popular Photography, January 2007; accessed 2007-08-19.
  12. ^ "GEORGE WOODMAN's Obituary on New York Times". New York Times. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  13. ^ Rosen, Steven. Buell Theatre artist guilty of 'padding.' Denver Post, October 27, 1991.
  14. ^ a b c d Chandler, Mary Voelz. Work that fits a timeless pattern. Rocky Mountain News, March 15, 1998.
  15. ^ Denver Office of Cultural Affairs - Public art guide to downtown Denver Archived 2010-04-15 at the Wayback Machine.; accessed 2007-08-19.
  16. ^ Walt, Irene (2004). Art in the Stations: the Detroit People Mover. Detroit: Art in the Stations. ISBN 0974539201.
  17. ^ Final People Mover link opens Monday Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine., WDIV Detroit, November 20, 2004; accessed 2007-08-19.
  18. ^ "Bullock, Lorinda. Tile art reborn: People Mover stop to reopen at RenCen". Archived from the original on November 19, 2004. Retrieved 2007-08-22. Detroit Free Press, November 17, 2004; accessed January 3, 2018.
  19. ^ a b McGraw, Hesse. Obscura lessons: Woodman's large-scale photographs teach plenty old, but not much new. Kansas City Star, May 7, 2004.
  20. ^ a b Krainak, Michael Joe. 'Visual Legacy': Bemis Center retrospect celebrates 40 years of Woodman paintings Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine. Omaha City Weekly, March 7, 2007; accessed August 19, 2007.
  21. ^ a b Princenthal, Nancy. George Woodman: the camera obscura photographs, March 26 - May 8, 2004 Archived July 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Notes for an exhibition at Grand Arts, Kansas City, Missouri; accessed 2007-08-19.
  22. ^ Miles, Christopher. Tracking patterns: a recent septet of pattern and decoration exhibitions at Bergamot Station prompts a reconsideration of that once burgeoning but lately little discussed movement, Art in America, February 2004; accessed 2007-08-19.
  23. ^ Glueck, Grace. Betty Woodman, turning the humble vase into high art, New York Times, April 28, 2006; accessed 2007-08-19 (registration required).
  24. ^ Gallery Talk: George Woodman, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, Nebraska, March 3, 2007; accessed 2007-08-19.
  25. ^ Sathish, Swapna. Play of images, The Hindu, January 31, 2002; accessed 2007-08-19.
  26. ^ Natarajan, Shankar. Aura of photography. The Hindu, May 12, 2002; accessed 2007-08-19.
  27. ^ Raman, Aparna. "Schizophreniart", The Hindu, November 23, 2003; accessed 2007-08-19.

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