Historical Note


Throughout his long and distinguished career as a writer and museum administrator, LLOYD GOODRICH (1897-1987) remained a devoted advocate of American art and artists, working tirelessly to elevate both their historic and contemporary status. He published several important monographs, including works on Thomas Eakins, Edward Hopper, Albert Pinkham Ryder, Winslow Homer, and Reginald Marsh, and organized major exhibitions about these and many other artists during his 57-year association with the Whitney Museum of American Art. At the time of his death, Goodrich was considered a preeminent figure in the American art world, and one of the foremost authorities on Eakins, Ryder, and Homer, artists on which he kept extensive research files throughout his life.

Goodrich was born in Nutley, New Jersey on July 10, 1897, the youngest of Henry Wickes and Madeleine Lloyd Goodrich's five children. Goodrich's father was a lawyer with literary and artistic interests, and a liberal bent. His mother was an avid reader, particularly of Henry James. Goodrich's siblings, from oldest to youngest, were: Constance, Frances (who married Albert Hackett and, with him, wrote several famous screenplays including "It's a Wonderful Life" and "The Diary of Anne Frank"), William, and Caroline. Rather than following the family tradition of attending Amherst College, Goodrich opted to pursue a career as an artist. He enrolled in the Art Students League where he studied under Kenneth Hayes Miller from 1913-1915. Between late 1915 and Summer 1916, he studied under Douglas Volk at the more conservative National Academy of Design, and then under Hamilton Easter Field in Ogunquit, Maine. By the end of 1916, Goodrich returned to the Art Students League. Upon completion of his studies in 1918, Goodrich had a "loss of faith," deciding that while he had an innate sense of color, he lacked the draughtsmanship skills to sustain a successful career as an artist.

After spending five years in the business world, Goodrich took a job in the religious book department of Macmillian Company in 1923. The following year, he married Edith Havens, a teacher of costume illustration at the YWCA, and began writing about art. His first article, on Winslow Homer, was published that year by The Arts, a progressive magazine subsidized by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. The magazine's editor, Forbes Watson, soon hired Goodrich to serve as associate editor of the magazine, a post he held until 1929, with the exception of an eleven-month hiatus between November 1927 and October 1928, when he and his wife lived in Europe and he assumed the role of the magazine's European editor. In 1929, Goodrich became assistant art critic for the New York Times and contributing editor for The Arts. The following year, Goodrich was commissioned by The Arts to write a book on his former teacher, Kenneth Hayes Miller.

Around this same time, Goodrich became seriously interested in the art and life of Thomas Eakins, then a relatively under-appreciated artist. With the encouragement and initial financial backing of his boyhood friend, Reginald Marsh, Goodrich conceived the idea of writing the first monograph dedicated to Eakins. Marsh was married to Betty Burroughs, the daugther of Bryson Burroughs, the curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art responsible for organizing a memorial exhibition of Eakins's work in 1917. Burroughs's son, Alan, had by this point published the first checklist of works by Eakins, in The Arts in 1924. Goodrich's monograph may never have materialized if it were not for his association with this magazine, or more specifically, with its patroness and her close associate, Julianna Force.

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, a sculptor and one of the wealthiest women in early-20th-century America, played a major role in the progressive American art scene. In addition to underwriting The Arts, Whitney funded the Whitney Studio Club and its successor, the Whitney Studio Galleries, institutions dedicated to showing artists outside the established, academic circle. Julianna Force, Whitney's personal assistant and close friend, directed both these institutions. When Whitney committed to the founding of the first museum dedicated to American art in 1930, she appointed Force as its director. Force had met Goodrich through her involvement with The Arts on Whitney's behalf, and asked him to join the staff of the Whitney Museum of American Art as a writer even before it opened to the public. Goodrich initially declined, citing his commitment to finish the Eakins monograph, at which point Force offered him a salary to complete the book.

With the financial backing of the book secured, Goodrich was free to concentrate on his research. Between 1930 and 1933, he travelled to Philadelphia several times to visit Susan Eakins, the artist's widow. Susan still lived in the house where Thomas had grown up and owned many of his unsold paintings. During these visits, Goodrich took pains to copy all of the primary source material Susan Eakins made available to him, including the couple's correspondence, the notebook Thomas kept while studying in Europe, and two record books which Susan and Thomas made of his works. Some letters Susan Eakins transcribed for Goodrich, editing them somewhat as she deemed necessary. Goodrich also interviewed many of Eakins's friends, sitters, relatives, students and other associates. Years later, he recalled, "I used to stay in the old Rittenhouse Hotel, and I used to come back in the evening after interviewing two or three people who had Eakinses, and I would sit up until midnight writing everything out that they had told me, while it was fresh in my mind." For each work of art he examined and identified, Goodrich made an individual catalog entry with extensive information, including physcial data such as the size, medium, and support, the signature, and its provenance and exhibition history. Goodrich also made a detailed sketch of each work, because at the time he was not using a camera. Goodrich's research resulted in "Thomas Eakins: His Life and Work," published in 1933 and including an extensive biography and a catalogue raisonne with 515 entries, far more works than anyone had previously identified.

Following the book's publication, Goodrich took on progressively more important roles at the Whitney Museum of American Art, becoming Research Curator in 1935, Associate Curator in 1947, Associate Director in 1948, and then Director between 1958 and his retirement in 1968, at which point he became an Advisory Director and later, in 1971, Director Emeritus. Goodrich organized many important exhibitions for the Museum, including: "Winslow Homer: Centenary Exhibition" (1936); "Pioneers of Modern Art in America" (1946); "Albert P. Ryder: Centenary Exhibition" (1947); "Yasuo Kuniyoshi" (1948); "Max Weber" (1949); "Edward Hopper" (1949); "John Sloan" (1952); "Reginald Marsh" (1955); "Four American Expressionists: Doris Caesar, Chaim Gross, Karl Knaths, Abraham Rattner" with John I. H. Baur (1959); "Edward Hopper" (1964); "Edwin Dickinson" (1965); "Raphael Soyer" (1967); "Georgia O'Keeffe" with Doris Bry (1970); "Thomas Eakins" (1970); "Edward Hopper" (1971); and "Winslow Homer" (1973). During his tenure, the Whitney developed from a private collection into a major public cultural institution, moved to its present quarters designed by Marcel Breuer and Hamilton Smith in 1966, and built a major collection of work by living American artists.

Goodrich's influence in the art world during these years extended well beyond the Whitney. In addition to his work on Eakins and the many catalogs produced in conjunction with Whitney exhibitions, Goodrich published monographs on Winslow Homer (1944, 1959), Albert Pinkham Ryder (1959), Edward Hopper (1971), and Reginald Marsh (1972). He also served on the editorial board of several important art magazines, specifically The Magazine of Art, The Art Bulletin, Art in America, New Art in America, and American Art Journal, as well as on the board of a number of art advocacy groups and government commissions. Between 1933 and 1934, he was in charge of the New York Regional Committee, Public Works of Art Project, part of the Works Project Administration, which hired artists to create public murals and sculpture. Between 1954 and 1974, Goodrich served on the National Council on Arts and Government, and through it, played a major role in the founding of the National Endowment for the Arts in 1965. In addition to more government support for contemporary artists, Goodrich advocated paying artists for lending works to exhibitions as well as giving them part of the proceeds from such shows. Goodrich recognized artists as among the country's most "underprivileged citizens," explaining "It is a paradox, sad but true, that many artists live by teaching others a profession in which they themselves don't make a living--except by teaching" (Bridgeport Sunday Post, Jan. 17, 1965).

Goodrich was also very concerned with the problem of forgeries in American art, presenting on this topic at the College Art Association of America in January 1942. Together with his wife Edith, Goodrich kept copious files on all known works not only by Eakins, but also by Ryder and Homer. In addition, he compiled material about dubious and fake works passed off as the work of these artists. In an attempt to remedy this troublesome problem for American artists in the future, he proposed and founded the American Art Research Council, a consortium of thirty museums and universities devoted to collecting written and visual records of works by contemporary American artists.

By the early 1960s, Goodrich began plans for a revised version of his 1933 book on Eakins. Through his compilation of extensive archives on the artist, he had unearthed approximately 85 works by Eakins not included in the original publication. In addition, he had published only a very small portion of the Eakins correspondence, record books, and notebooks he had copied in the 1930s. These copies had grown enormously in importance over the years as some of the originals were destroyed following the death of Susan Eakins in 1938. Other letters survived, but passed to Charles Bregler and his wife, who prevented scholars from seeing or using the material. Thus, Goodrich's archives had become the single most important source for primary material about Eakins, and he fielded frequent requests from scholars seeking use of the material. Goodrich wanted to publish this material before granting others the right to do so.

In 1965, Goodrich signed a contract with Harvard University Press and the National Gallery Art to produce the book. Initially, he hoped to publish the biography and catalogue raisonne at the same time. However, it became apparent from the amount of new research on Eakins since 1933, and the extensive additions to his own files and records, that more than one volume would be necessary. Time limitations and other commitments delayed the publication of the biographical portion, produced in two volumes, until 1982. Goodrich was still at work on the catalogue raisonne portion in 1987 when he died of cancer at the age of 89. The death of his wife, Edith, who had assisted him diligently in his research on Eakins and other artists for over fifty years, preceded his by three years. Prior to his death, Goodrich, in conjunction with representatives from the Whitney Museum of American Art, made plans for the disposition of his archival records related to Eakins, Homer, and Ryder. While the Philadelphia Museum of Art received his records related to Eakins, his Ryder material was given to the Department of Special Collections at the University of Delaware and his files on Winslow Homer were presented to the Graduate Center and the City University of New York.

According to Lloyd Goodrich's 1982 assessment, THOMAS COWPERTHRAIT EAKINS (1844-1916) is recognized today as America's "strongest purely realistic artist" of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Eakins is also the American artist most inextricably linked to the city of Philadelphia, the place in which he found both inspiration and despair throughout his career.

Born in Philadelphia on July 25, 1844, Eakins was the first of five children of Benjamin and Caroline Cowperthwait Eakins. In the fall of 1857, the young Eakins entered the city's elite Central High School, and throughout his four years there received high marks in mathematics, science, and languages, particularly French, as well as drawing. Upon graduation he assisted his father as a calligrapher and an instructor of penmanship. When he failed to receive a teaching position at his alma mater in the fall of 1862, Eakins registered for classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA), also in Philadelphia. His earliest studies there were classes in drawing from antique casts and lectures in anatomy. In February 1863, he was admitted to the life drawing classes and apparently continued at the Academy until 1866. In 1864 when he became eligible to be drafted for the Civil War, Eakins paid the $24 fee to exempt him from conscription. The year after the war, Eakins was accepted for study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and sailed for Paris during the fall of 1866. His only time living outside of Philadelphia, Eakins began his studies at the Ecole, drawing from nude models and working in the studio of Jean-Léon Gérôme. Later, on his own, he began to paint. Before returning permanently to the states in 1870, Eakins made several excursions to other countries, including Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and Belgium. He also spent approximately six months in Spain, specifically at Seville and Madrid. In the latter city Eakins visited the Prado, filling a notebook with his observations of the paintings he studied there.

Upon his return to Philadelphia, Eakins set up a studio in his family's home and began painting, using family members as his subjects. During this time, specifically 1870 to 1874, Eakins painted a series of oils and watercolors epitomizing his ties to Philadelphia in his depictions of the sport of rowing on the Schuylkill River. As Darrel Sewell described in the catalog to a 1982 exhibition, through these works, Eakins brought "the memories, knowledge, and sentiment that he thought imperative for an artist to have. His motivation...was his enjoyment of the familiar landscape, his friendship and admiration for his skilled companions and his own personal enthusiasm for the sport." The paintings were Eakins's examination of the elements he considered most important for an artist to study--light, color and form.

In the spring of 1871 Eakins exhibited for the first time in public at the third art reception of the Union League of Philadelphia, and received mixed reviews. During the next five years, Eakins participated in approximately a half-dozen exhibitions, including a few in Paris and London. In the hopes of attracting public commissions, he began painting life-size portraits of prominent individuals. He also painted "Grouse," a portrait of the dog owned by the photographer Henry Schreiber. It is the first known work that Eakins based on a photograph, which underscores the artist's interest in and use of photography in his paintings, a theme recently revisited by current scholarship. Eakins also continued his anatomy studies through the Jefferson Medical College, where he registered to attend the surgical demonstrations of Dr. Samuel David Gross and anatomy lectures with Dr. Joseph Pancoast. A mixed culmination to all these experiences came in 1876 with the Centennial International Exhibition, hosted in Philadelphia. Eakins showed five paintings in the art exhibition. However, his ambitious painting entitled, "The Gross Clinic," was rejected for its graphic depiction of an operation and was ignominiously moved to the Army Hospital.

The fall of 1876 proved more fruitful for Eakins. He joined PAFA as a volunteer assistant to Christian Schussele, professor of drawing and painting, and as a dissection assistant to Dr. William W. Keen. He also met Susan Hannah Macdowell, a new student at the Academy who would become his wife in 1884. When Schussele died in 1879, Eakins was selected as his successor, and the following year he began his formal lectures. He also purchased his first camera, which as scholars today explain, he used like a sketchbook--making photographic records of what he saw. While the first half of the decade brought additional exhibitions and commissions for Eakins, including a portrait of the President of the United States for the Union League of Philadelphia, as well as his first commissioned sculpture for a Philadelphia merchant, the year 1886 began with disappointment and disgrace. In a class attended by female students, Eakins removed the loincloth of a nude male model. Several parents expressed outrage. In response, the chairman of the Committee on Instruction requested Eakins's resignation, which he submitted on February 9, 1886. In protest, 38 of Eakins students also resigned and established the Art Students' League of Philadelphia, so that Eakins could continue his life classes. This gesture of support, however, was unfortunately offset by the considerable coverage Eakins's dismissal received in the local press and national art publications. For more than a year, Eakins virtually stopped painting. To combat the acute depression, Eakins traveled to the Dakota Territory and for three months photographed and sketched cowboys. Upon his return, Eakins began lecturing in New York City, and again began to show in exhibitions, including PAFA's annual exhibition of 1891.

Continued success came with the new century. In addition to receiving commissions, several of Eakins's portraits earned awards. From 1901 to 1909, Eakins served as a juror to annual exhibitions for the Carnegie Institute and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In its annual exhibition of 1915, the latter institution featured the portrait of Mrs. Talcott Williams, which Eakins painted in the early 1890s. It was well-received by the press. By that time, failing eyesight had left the artist essentially housebound. Eakins died June 25, 1916. Not long after the artist's death, the Metropolitan Museum of Art held a memorial exhibition in November of 1917, with PAFA following suit a month later.

While the posthumous exhibitions devoted to Eakins, which have carried into the 21st century, continue to solidify his reputation as one of America's greatest artists, they also underscore the irony of the contemporary criticism Eakins endured through much of his career. The realism Goodrich singled out as Eakins's most unique characteristic was usually the point of contention. In 1881, Earl Shinn, an old acquaintance and early supporter of Eakins, associated the "brutal exactitude" of his works to a "...scientific mind that has made the mistake of taking up art..." By 1894 such comments led Eakins to conclude, "My honors are misunderstanding, persecution [and] neglect, enhanced because unsought."

Chronology

July 10, 1897LLOYD GOODRICH is born to Henry Wickes and Madeleine Lloyd Goodrich in Nutley, New Jersey.
1913-1915Studies painting under Kenneth Hayes Miller at the Art Students League.
Fall 1915-Spring 1916Studies painting under Douglas Volk at the National Academy of Design.
Summer 1916Studies painting under Hamilton Easter Field in Ogunquit, Maine.
Fall 1916-1918Resumes sudies at the Art Student League.
1918-1923Pursues a career in business. Four of these five years spent working in the steel industry.
1923-1925Works at Macmillan Company in the religious book department.
January 12, 1924Marries Edith Havens from Brooklyn, New York.
1925-1927Associate Editor for "The Arts."
Nov. 1927-Oct. 1928European Editor for "The Arts." With his wife Edith, Goodrich travels to France, Italy, England, Belgium, Holland, and Germany.
1928-1929Associate Editor for "The Arts."
1929Assistant Art Critic for "The New York Times."
1929-1931Contributing Editor for "The Arts."
August 22, 1930First child, David, born.
1930Joins staff of the Whitney Museum of American Art as researcher and writer of monographs on American artists. The Museum officially opens to the public on November 18, 1931.
1930Publishes "Kenneth Hayes Miller" (The Arts), about his former instructor.
1931Publishes "H. E. Schnakenberg" as part of the Whitney Museum of American Art's American artists series.
September 28, 1933Second child, Madeline, born in Fall River, Massachusetts.
1933Publishes "Thomas Eakins: His life and work."
1933-1934In charge of the New York Regional Committee, Public Works of Art Project, the part of the Works Project Administration which hired artists to create public murals and sculpture.
1935-1947Serves as Research Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art.
1935-1986Organizes several exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and wrote the accompanying catalog, including: "American Genre: The Social Scene in Paintings and Prints (1800-1935)" (1935); "Winslow Homer: Centenary Exhibition" (1936); "A Century of American Landscape Painting 1800 to 1900" (1938); "Pioneers of Modern Art in America" (1946); "Ralph Albert Blakelock: Centenary Exhibition" (1947); "Albert P. Ryder: Centenary Exhibition" (1947); "Yasuo Kuniyoshi" (1948); "Max Weber" (1949); "Edward Hopper" (1949); "John Sloan" (1952); "Reginald Marsh" (1955); "Four American Expressionists: Doris Caesar, Chaim Gross, Karl Knaths, Abraham Rattner" with John I. H. Baur (1959); "Edward Hopper" (1964); "Edwin Dickinson" (1965); "Art of the United States, 1670-1966" (1966); "Raphael Soyer" (1967); "The Graphic Art of Winslow Homer" (1968); "John Heliker" with Patricia FitzGerald Mandel (1968); "Georgia O'Keeffe" with Doris Bry (1970); "Edward Hopper" (1971); "Winslow Homer" (1973); and "Winslow Homer in Monochrome" with Abigail Booth Gerdts (1986).
1941-1987Life member of the Art Students League.
1942-1950Chairman of the editorial board of "The Magazine of Art."
1942-1987Founding member of the American Art Research Council, a consortium of museums devoted to collecting written and visual records about contemporary works of American art. During Goodrich's tenure as director of this organization, the Whitney Museum of American Art becomes a major center of scholarly research on mid-20th century American art.
1942-1987Trustee, American Federation of Arts; from 1957-1962 he serves as chairman of this organization, and from 1962-1987 is the hononary vice president.
1943-1961Member of the editorial board of "The Art Bulletin."
1944Publishes the monograph, "Winslow Homer" (Whitney Museum of American Art).
1946-1970Member of the editorial board of "Art in America" magazine.
1946-1983Commissioner of the National Collection of Fine Arts (later the National Museum of American Art), Smithsonian Institution; Goodrich is Commissioner Emeritus from 1983 to 1987.
1947-1948Associate Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art.
1948-1954Chairman, Committee on Government and Art.
1948-1958Associate Director, Whitney Museum of American Art.
1954Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
1954-1974Member of the National Council on Arts and Government. Through his involvement with this council, and as its vice-chairman from 1962 to 1974, Goodrich plays a major role in the founding of the National Endowment for the Arts.
1955Publishes essay "Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins," in "The One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition" catalog published by the Pennsyvlania Academy of Fine Arts.
1956-1987Vice president of the Sara Roby Foundation.
1957Contributor to the magazine, "New Art in America."
1958-1968Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art.
1959Publishes monographs on Albert P. Ryder and Winslow Homer as part of the Great American Artists series published by G. Braziller.
1960-1963Member of the Advisory Committee, Art for the White House.
1960-1987Member of the Advisory Committee, Archives of American Art.
1961Publishes catalog to the Whitney Museum of American Art collection in conjunction with associate director John I. H. Baur, "American Art of our Century."
1965-1972Member of the Board of Directors, The Edward MacDowell Association.
1966Oversees the completion of and move into the Whitney Museum of American Art's new quarters designed by Marcel Breuer and Hamilton Smith.
1968Whitney Museum of American Art receives by bequest the Hopper collection from the artists's widow, due in part to Goodrich's reputation as the outstanding scholar of Edward Hopper at the time.
1968-1971Advisory Director and Trustee of the Whitney Museum of American Art.
1970Organizes major retrospective of works by Thomas Eakins. Goodrich also writes the accompanying catalog and delivers a series of lecture in conjunction with this show.
1970-1975President of the Edith Gregor Halpert Foundation.
1971Publishes monograph, "Edward Hopper" (H. N. Abrams).
1971-1987Director Emeritus and Honorary Trustee, Whitney Museum of American Art.
1972Publishes monograph,"Reginald Marsh" (H. N. Abrams), a close friend of his from boyhood.
1972-1987Member of the editorial board of "The American Art Journal."
1973-1985Chairman of the Board of Managers of the Wyeth Endowment for American Art.
1973-1987Member of the Board of Directors of the Friends of American Art in Religion.
1982Publishes "Thomas Eakins"
May 2, 1984Edith Havens Goodrich dies.
March 27, 1987Lloyd Goodrich dies in New York City.

Works Consulted

Goodrich, Lloyd, 1897-. Thomas Eakins. (Cambridge, Mass.: Published for the National Gallery of Art [by] Harvard University Press, 1982)

Sewell, Darrel, 1939-. Thomas Eakins: artist of Philadelphia. (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1982)

Sewell, Darrel, 1939-. Thomas Eakins. [. . . with essays by Kathleen A. Foster ... [et al.] ; chronology by Kathleen Brown. (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2001)