Calvin J. Goodman, Influential Mentor to Artists and Advisor to Arts Organizations, Died
NEW YORK, NY.- Calvin J. Goodman, influential mentor to artists and advisor to arts organizations, died in Los Angeles on August 17th, 2011 of natural causes. For over five decades Goodman worked with such renowned artists as Louise Nevelson, Hans Burckhart, Harry Jackson, and Françoise Gilot, and countless other artists.
Known for his insight into the thoughts that motivate an artist, Goodman had an uncanny ability to help creative spirits discover and connect with the audience their work would speak to. Convinced that art answers to basic human needs and is no mere fad nor ornament, Goodman became a powerful resource for artists seeking the constituency that would make all the difference between life in a garret and a successful career.
Among Goodman’s unique contributions was his Art Marketing Handbook, a virtual bible for artists and art dealers addressing every aspect of its subject from gallery design to contracts, pricing, sales presentations, and professional ethics for artists – a special interest of the author. American Artist called the volume, now in its 7th edition, “a most valuable guide for anyone serious about making a living with art.” Among its first buyers was Robert Motherwell.
In 1960 Goodman and June Wayne co-founded the now-legendary Tamarind Lithography Workshop. Originally funded by the Ford Foundation, Tamarind achieved its goal of establishing fine art lithography in America. At Tamarind Goodman wrote the first production manual of original lithography and pioneered in advancing every aspect of the work from materials handling to marketing. In 1973, he advised in the production of Four Stones for Kanemitsu, a documentary on printmaking nominated for an Oscar as a Short Subject.
Goodman long advised Artists Equity and helped found the Portrait Society of America. He was the only non-artist to serve on its board. A prolific writer, Goodman contributed articles regularly to American Artist, Southwest Art, and Artist Magazine. He also prepared a major study for the Independent Professional Schools of Music, successfully urging a shift from the star system, so wasteful of human talent, to the now broadly accepted multi-disciplinary approach that opened meaningful career paths to a diversity of musical talents.
Realizing that virtually no art schools were addressing the “business of art,” Goodman devised his own practicum courses, which he taught at Otis and the California Institute of Arts. He frequently lectured at art schools across the country and in dozens of seminars for artists and art dealers.
Goodman warmly supported the work of women artists, who so often had to swim against the tide professionally. At a dinner honoring the legacy of Jackson Pollock, Goodman was seated beside Pollock’s wife, Lee Krasner. He said he had always been curious about a certain issue. “What would you like to know about Jackson?” Krasner asked. Goodman responded, “My question is not about your husband, Ms Krasner; it’s about you. I’m interested in your work. Tell me about Hans Hofmann’s influence on you.” The two hit it off immediately.
Goodman’s practical wisdom made his advocacy especially desirable to families seeking to keep alive the impact of an artist’s work. Under his counsel, the works of artists like Reuben Nakian, Alcopley, Nina Tryggvadottir, and John Opper have received renewed interest, and the repute of their contributions has been burnished and enhanced.
Over the years, galleries and dealers on (and between) both coasts, such as Martha Jackson, Grace Borgenicht, Louis Newman, and Margo Levin sought Goodman’s advice. Despite his failing health in recent years, Goodman continued to travel to New York and elsewhere, meeting with clients and speaking at the Art Students League and for Artists Equity.
Born in Chicago in 1922, Goodman married Florence Jeanne Cohen the day before Pearl Harbor day. He served in the US Navy as a fire control officer in World War II, in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters and attended Harvard on the GI Bill, graduating in 1949. He turned professionally to the art market after years as a management consultant to such major firms as Hughes Aircraft, Litton Industries, Aerojet General, and General Tire and Rubber.
Back in the 1970s, before opening his eponymous Beverly Hills gallery, Louis Newman became one of Goodman’s clients and, in turn, a long-term friend. Newman says, “For me and for many, many others, Calvin Goodman was that very rare person who makes a makes impact on your life and career. His wisdom, focus, integrity, and generosity were ever-present over the years. I owe much of my success as an art dealer to his constant support.”
Goodman’s son, Dr. Lenn E. Goodman, a noted professor of philosophy stated: “My father’s life mission was dedicated to helping and advocating for others. He viewed his role in the art market as that of a catalyst. Again and again his support and counsel enabled artists, well-known and little known, to enhance and consummate their aesthetic dreams. He selflessly treasured the successes of ‘his’ artists and cherished their creations, always believing that art is a necessity in a meaningful life.” *
Besides his son, Goodman is survived by his daughter Shelley Adler, nine grandchildren including the well known novelist Allegra Goodman, and twenty great grandchildren.