Goodman working in his studio, Image courtesy NYSID
I really, absolutely and thoroughly, enjoyed the small, yet beautiful, exhibition of the work of Jeremiah Goodman at the New York School of Interior Design (on view through December 20, 2010). Goodman’s work put a smile on my face and allowed me to daydream about the possibility of living in one of his fabulously picturesque interiors. Inspired Impressions: Interior Paintings by Jeremiah Goodman, is a retrospective of Goodman’s signature room portraits and the iconic magazine covers which he created for Interior Design magazine (from 1952 to 1967).
What makes Goodman’s work so different from other representations of interiors is that he takes certain liberties, and does not show all of the details as one might when trying to illustrate an interior, Goodman is a real artists and he allows his own personality and style to come through in his work. He is interested in the overall space not just certain aspects of it. In the show’s catalogue, Judith Gura, the curator, writes that “Filtering the reality of interior spaces through the lens of his distinctive vision, he interprets interiors rather than reproducing them in detail.” He himself admits to being “a dying breed” since today everyone in the industry is at the mercy of CAD or Computer Aided Design.
Carlos de Beistegui Dinning room by Goodman. This is one of Goodman’s favorite interiors, Image courtesy NYSID
The exhibition includes 38 of Goodman’s favorite interiors. Goodman’s color palette is what brought the work to life. I was swept up in the fuchsia of Carolina Herrara’s New York City Living Room and the reds of Diane Vreeland’s infamous salon, designed for her by Billy Baldwin. Included in the exhibition is also a painting of my current obsession, the Duchess of Windsor’s, whose country bedroom in the Moulin de la Tuilerie the artist painted from a collection of photographs. All of the interiors belong to notable people, like President and Mrs. Regan, Bill Blass, and Great Garbo, so there is an aspect of voyeurism here which I adore.
Carolina Herrera Sitting Room by Goodman, Image courtesy NYSID
For budding interior designers, since this gallery is located at the School of Interior Design, there is tons of inspiration to be found and the main lesson to be learned is that the personality of the room’s inhabitants should always come through. It is not surprising that the celebrated American costume designer Edith Head had a very dramatic living room with low chandeliers, large mirrors and heavy draperies. Or that the Italian jewelry designer Elsa Peretti had a theatrical “Monster” fireplace installed at her residence at Porto Ecole, which was inspired by the grotesque sculptures in the Bomarzo Gardens, also in Italy.
At the end of the exhibition I stopped and wondered if people really live like this or are these just beautiful fantasies that Goodman dreamed up? But frankly, the answer is that they do and the rest of us are just voyeurs.