Artwork by Betty Roodish Goodwin,  Vest No. 2

Betty Goodwin
Vest No. 2

soft-ground etching
signed, titled, dated 1-1970 and numbered 8/10
26 x 20 ins ( 66 x 50.8 cms )

Auction Estimate: $6,000.00$4,000.00 - $6,000.00

Price Realized $4,830.00
Sale date: May 29th 2014

The Collection of Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc.
Rosemarie L. Tovell, “The Prints of Betty Goodwin”, Vancouver/Toronto, 2002, pages 30-33, illustrated page 170, plate 122.
Arthur Bardo, “Betty Goodwin's Graphics: Minimum Creates Originals”, “Montreal Star”, 25 March 1970.
In 1970, Montreal artist Betty Goodwin gained acclaim with her inventive soft-ground etchings of vests. Tovell discusses how “a moment of profound consequence in Goodwin's life as an artist occurred in January 1970... she suddenly realized that there was a deep connection between her 'Vest' print and herself; her father, whom she lost in childhood, had earned his living as a maker of vests.” This insight had a great emotional impact on Goodwin, who remarked that “in the end, a successful work is the image of our being.”

Goodwin's exhibition of “Vest” works at Gallery 1640 in March 1970 garnered much praise. Arthur Bardo, a reviewer for the “Montreal Star”, commented: “The printed image of vests, isolated by the white ground, forms a very powerful simple and convincing shape...These are not, as drawings would be, a translation of three-dimensional forms into a two-dimensional space. They are instead the expression of the formal possibilities created by compressing that shallow space.”

The “Vest” etchings are likely Goodwin's most recognizable works, created through her innovative process of placing vests in an etching press.

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Betty Roodish Goodwin
(1923 - 2008)

A renowned Canadian printmaker, painter, and sculptor, Betty Roodish Goodwin (born Montréal, March 19, 1923; died Montréal December 1, 2008) began her career in the visual arts in the late 1940s. Largely self-taught, Goodwin’s practice evolved from drawing to experimentations with other media. Out of her many experimental efforts with mark-making as a student of Yves Gaucher at Sir George Williams School (now Concordia) University in the late 1960s, she discovered engraving and etching, which became her primary means of expression. Later, as an accomplished sculptor, painter, and installation artist, she tended to work in series.

Robert Ayre noted, “...I would say she is essentially the painter. She scarcely differentiates her forms; anatomy concerns her no more than it does Jean Dubuffet or Jan Muller. She flattens them out; runs them together. She is conscious always of the human dilemma, the drama of the ‘Dybbuk,’ and the tragedy of ‘Leavetaking’, of ‘The trial’--but not the individual is nameless, part of the crowd, a dissolving member of the eternal flux. It isn’t however, a drab and hopeless tide, for Betty Goodwin’s colour is gorgeous.”

A recipient of several honours, Goodwin was chosen to represent Canada in the 1995 Venice Biennial. Other notable awards included the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award of the Canada Council for the Arts in 1981, the Banff Centre National Award for Visual Arts in 1984, the Prix Paul-Émile Borduas in 1986, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 1988, and the Gershon Iskowitz Prize in 1995. Goodwin was the first recipient of the Harold Town Prize for Drawing in 1998, and in 2003 she received the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts. Throughout her career she also received honorary doctorates from various Canadian universities, including the University of Guelph, the University of Waterloo, and the University of Montreal.