Arthur C. Goodwin (American, 1864-1929)
Arthur C. Goodwin is remembered as a prominent Boston artist. Born in 1864 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Goodwin grew up in Chelsea, Massachusetts. Known there as the “Beau Brummell of Chelsea,” he found work as a wholesale paper salesman and often drank to excess. Goodwin’s painting career began at age thirty. With help from Louise Kronberg, Goodwin relocated to Boston where he painted the city, capturing all its moods and colors. In 1914, Goodwin was admitted to the Guild of Boston Artists, giving him the opportunity to exhibit his work. Due to his continued drinking and erratic lifestyle, his appearance alternated between that of a tramp and that of a gentleman. Goodwin was always able to sell his paintings. However, his fees were inconsistent and his patrons were sporadic. Nonetheless, his paintings were owned by such notables as John Singer Sargent. Between 1902 and 1920, Goodwin’s painting style changed slowly. Emphasizing the delicate nuances of light and color, his paintings allowed him to blend his figures into natural landscapes. Goodwin’s work thus achieves an unusual harmony between man and his surroundings. Goodwin was also fascinated with places where the city abruptly met the natural landscape. He preferred to paint piers, plazas, and river bridges. As one of the few American impressionists who chose urban subjects, he never experienced the influence of the French masters directly. Completing his unpredictable and bohemian way of life, Goodwin died unexpectedly in 1929.
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