Live Virtual Auction, 10 - 11 May 2020
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About this Item
This pastel by Robert Gwelo Goodman depicts the Ponte del Cavallo, a bridge that spans the Venetian canal, Rio dei Mendicanti. To the right of the composition is the Scuola Grande di San Marco that borders the square of Campo San Giovanni e Paolo. Executed en plein air, presumably from the Ponte Rosso, a bridge downstream famously painted by Canaletto in 1724, Goodman's work follows in the tradition of vedute, a genre of vista painting originating in Flanders and later adopted by the 18th century Venetian vedutisti.
Goodman visited Venice in 1910, recording his experience predominantly in pastels which were then exhibited later in London. Most significant was his 1915 showing at the Pastel Society, where he was given “practically a one-man show, two rooms being allotted to his work alone”. The critical reception was equally favourable with one writer noting: “He employs pastel with an assurance that gives this drawings a freshness and vivacity which will remain after contemporary oil paintings have become opaque and dull”, 1 further asserting that “He ranks now among the albeit young painters of landscape and open-air subjects”.2
Goodman was known for his command of the medium, which provided the immediacy required to work outdoors. He would write memorably that “Pastel is capable of a richness and velvety depth of colour impossible in any other medium” that manages to “convey the illusion of holding and reflecting actual light”.3
- Joyce Newton Thompson (1951) Gwelo Goodman: South African Artist, London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, page 39.
Acquired from The Pastel Society Exhibition by the current owner's mother.
The Pastel Society, London, 1915.