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Walter Goodman's The Printseller's Window: Solving a Painter's Puzzle

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The Printseller's Window

52 1/4 x 44 3/4 in. (132.7 x 113.7 cm)

Walter Goodman
England (London, 1838 - 1912, London)

Object Type: Painting
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Marion Stratton Gould Fund
Accession Number: 1998.75
Location: Currently on view
Link to this object

Painted in the illusionistic technique of trompe l’oeil (French for “fool the eye),” The Printseller depicts a heavily-bearded shopkeeper cradling a small statuette of Cupid. The display case before him contains a variety of objects, including prints, books, coins in a porcelain dish, a magnifying glass, a wineglass, a strand of pearls and a metal tankard. Many of the prints are reproductions of famous paintings that would have been familiar to Walter Goodman’s audience of the early 1880s.

A string of small photographs called cartes-de-visites stretches across the display case. These small photographic portraits, sized to mount on a visiting card, became extremely popular; a craze developed for collecting the cartes of celebrities as well as family and friends. Here, each represents a famous Victorian painter of Goodman’s time, including John Everett Millais, Rosa Bonheur, and Lawrence Alma-Tadema (fourth, sixth, and ninth from the left, respectively). A larger photographic portrait of the famous art critic John Ruskin is located in the center directly below the string of cartes.

Although relatively unknown, Walter Goodman was an interesting and practiced artist with a varied career as a portraitist, illustrator and writer. Of Jewish heritage, he was the son of portraitist Julia Salaman Goodman. He was widely traveled and an intimate member of London’s theatrical society. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and the British Institution.

Tillou Gallery, Litchfield, CT, 1965; Norman Flayderman, New Milford, CT, by 1969; Bruce Gimelson, Garrison, NY; Alexander Gallery, New York, NY, 1986; acquired from them by Masco Corporation, Taylor, Michigan, 1986; their sale, Sotheby's, New York, December 3, 1998; purchased at that sale by the Gallery

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jobs & work
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Web Links See links to web pages and lesson plans
Audio Description of Walter Goodman's painting The Printseller's Window Walter Goodman's painting The Printseller's Window is described in detail for the visually impaired visitor.
Walter Goodman wikipedia article Keep abreast of what we learn about Walter Goodman at this wikipedia article.
MAGexplore MAGexplore provides in-depth information and close looking at over 200 objects in MAG's collection.
Museum Mystery Article in July-August 2009 issue of Rochester Review.

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