Betty Goodwin

ISBN (identifier) Montreal Order of Canada
Betty Goodwin
Born(1923-03-19)March 19, 1923
DiedDecember 1, 2008(2008-12-01) (aged 85)
Montreal, Quebec

Betty Roodish Goodwin, OC (March 19, 1923 – December 1, 2008) was a Canadian printmaker, sculptor, painter, and installation artist. Her work is represented in many public collections, including the City of Burnaby Permanent Art Collection,[1] Winnipeg Art Gallery,[2] Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal,[3] and the National Gallery of Canada[3] and the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.[4]

Early life

Goodwin was born in Montreal, the only child of Romanian immigrants Clare Edith and Abraham Roodish.[5] She enjoyed painting and drawing as a child, and was encouraged by her mother to pursue art. Goodwin's father, a factory owner in Montreal, died when she was nine. After graduating from high school, she studied design at Valentine's Commercial School of Art in Montreal.


Goodwin launched her career as a painter and printmaker in the late 1940s. Her work began to be exhibited in Montreal in the early '60s. In the 1960s, she enrolled in a printmaking class with Yves Gaucher at Sir George Williams University in Montreal.[6] It was there where she began working with found objects and clothing in her prints, which brought her international attention.[7] Dissatisfied with her work, she destroyed most of it and in 1968 she limited herself to drawing.[6]

Goodwin represented Canada at the Tokyo International Print Biennial in 1974, and the Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts in 1975. She received the Prix Paul-Émile Borduas in 1986.

Goodwin again represented Canada at the São Paulo Biennial in 1989.

Goodwin used a variety of media, including collage, sculpture, printmaking, painting and drawing, assemblage and etchings. Her subject matter almost always revolves around the human form and deals with it in a highly emotional way.[6] Many of her ideas came from clusters of photographs, objects or drawings on the walls in her studio. She also used the "germ" of ideas that are left after being erased from a work.[6] During the 1950s and 60s Goodwin created still life paintings. She also depicted scenes of Montreal's Jewish Community.

Goodwin became interested in found objects, and how they held traces of life. She created copper plate impressions of items of clothing to produce a series of etchings, entitled Vest, which gained international attention. Goodwin created a series of wall hangings entitled Tarpaulin from 1972 to 1974, which she reworked to shape into sculptures and collages. She received the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award of the Canada Council for the Arts in 1981.

Over a period of six years beginning in 1982, Goodwin explored the human form in her drawing series Swimmers, this project used graphite, oil pastels and charcoal on translucent Mylar. The large-scale drawings depict solitary floating or sinking bodies, suspended in space. In 1986, to show the interaction of human figures she created her series Carbon using charcoal and wax to create drawings.[8] She earned a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 1988.

After representing Canada at the Venice Biennial in 1995,[9] she was presented with the Gershon Iskowitz Prize of the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation and the Art Gallery of Ontario. In 1996 Goodwin donated 150 of her works to the Art Gallery of Ontario, which has the largest collection of her work. The Gallery staged a major retrospective that year, and she was awarded the Harold Town Prize.[10] That year she was acknowledged with an exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada, Betty Goodwin: Signs of Life. In 2003, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.[7] She died in December 2008 in Montreal.


She was married to Martin Goodwin, a civil engineer (d. 2008). Their son Paul died at 30 of a drug overdose.[6]


Solo Exhibitions[11]

Group Exhibitions[11]

Other Notable Artworks



  1. ^ Cane, Jennifer; van Eijnsbergen, Ellen (2017). The Ornament of a House: 50 Years of Collecting. Burnaby: Burnaby Art Gallery. pp. 64–65. ISBN 9781927364239.
  2. ^ "Canadian Art, Winnipeg Art Gallery". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Artefacts Canada". Canadian Heritage Information Network. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Betty Goodwin". Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  5. ^ Pelham, Zachary. "Mundane Secrets". ArtsEditor. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e Johnson, Brian D. "Body Language." Maclean's Vol. 111, no. 48 (Nov. 30, 1998): 88-89.
  7. ^ a b "Betty Goodwin at Barbara Edwards Contemporary." Betty Goodwin at Barbara Edwards Contemporary. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.
  8. ^ "Betty Goodwin". National Gallery of Canada. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  9. ^ "Art Gallery of Ontario." Kitty Scott on Betty Goodwin | AGO Art Gallery of Ontario. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.
  10. ^ "Betty Goodwin, Artist of Mourning." The Daily Undertaker. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Betty Roodish Goodwin Biography". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-10-03. Retrieved 2008-12-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Members since 1880". Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2013.

Further reading

External links

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Worldwide Books: Artist Results for Goodwin, Betty." Worldwide Books: Artist Results for Goodwin, Betty. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.