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Lloyd Goodrich ( 1897-1987 )

Goodrich was named research curator at the Whitney Museum of Art in 1935 where he organized a number of American exhibitions such as “Winslow Homer” in 1936, “A Century of American Landscape Painting” in 1938, and “The Hudson River School and the Early American Landscape Tradition” in 1945. Associated with his interest in American art, in 1942 Goodrich founded the American Art Research Council in an attempt to document the lives and work of American artists. This project experienced a renaissance in the 1970s with the creation of the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art. By 1948 Goodrich was appointed assistant director at the Whitney Museum. He initiated the transition of the museum from a private institution to a public one in 1956, and formed the Friends of the Whitney Museum group to make acquisitions on behalf of the museum. Goodrich was named director two years later and retired in 1968, however he remained at the museum as an advisor until 1971.

Goodrich was also the chair of the Committee on Government and Art, and in 1954 submitted a proposal to President Eisenhower suggesting legislation for government support of the arts. This resulted in the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

As an art historian, Goodrich wrote extensively on American art, promoting Thomas Eakins, Edward Hopper, Winslow Homer, Albert Pinkham Ryder, and Reginald Marsh. His monographs are considered among the finest works on American artists, and he is regarded as one of the premier Americanist art historians. After a lengthy and pivotal career in the history of American art, he died at the age of 89 in his New York home.

1. Lloyd Goodrich, “Lloyd Goodrich Reminisces: Part I,” Archives of American Art Journal Vol. 20, No. 3 (1983): 2-18.