Robert Goodnough (1917-2010) was a second generation Abstract Expressionist painter whose style evolution encompassed Cubist-inspired abstractions to Color Field painting. Throughout a career that lasted over half a century, Goodnough experimented in a variety of media, including collage, metal, wood, stained glass, gouache, and more. His work is noted for its calligraphic mark-marking and, later, his subtle pastel colors.
After earning a fine-arts degree from Syracuse University in 1940 he was drafted into the Army and served in the field artillery, painting portraits and murals at military installations. Other art education included studies at the Ozenfant School of Fine Arts and Hans Hofmann's celebrated summer school in Provincetown, MA.
At meetings of the Club, a famous downtown discussion group made up mostly of abstract painters, he became friends with Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko. Critic Clement Greenberg and the art historian Meyer Schapiro selected him to exhibit in a group show of emerging artists at the Kootz Gallery in 1950, and two years later he had his first important one-man show, at Tibor de Nagy. In 1969 Goodnough was given a one-man show at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.
Although he never achieved the commercial success of his contemporaries Pollock, Motherwell, and Kline, he is recognized as a significant artist. Select collections include: Smithsonian American Art Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art; North Carolina Museum of Art; Delaware Art Museum; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Portland Art Museum; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.