Lloyd Goodrich (1897-1987) was a prominent and influential art historian, writer, and director of the Whitney Museum of Art in New York City, New York, from 1958-1968.
Lloyd Goodrich was born in Nutley, New Jersey in 1897. He studied under Kenneth Hayes Miller at the Art Students League from 1913-1915 and also took courses at the National Academy of Design. Rather than pursue a career as an artist, however, he decided that his real talent was writing about art. He began his long and prolific writing career in 1923-24 and married Edith Havens in 1924. Inspired by the work and writings of European art scholars and a desire to address the need for a body of scholarship on American Art, Goodrich began to research and write about American artists Kenneth Hayes Miller, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Eakins.
Goodrich's first article on Winslow Homer was published in 1924 by The Arts, a magazine financed by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and edited by Forbes Watson, who soon hired Goodrich as associate editor. By 1929, Goodrich was also working as assistant art critic for the New York Times while continuing work at The Arts as contributing editor. One year later, The Arts commissioned Goodrich to write a book on Kenneth Hayes Miller. And, around the same time Goodrich became interested in Thomas Eakins, and with the encouragement and financial support from his boyhood friend, artist Reginald Marsh, he began work on a monograph about Eakins.
In 1930, Goodrich joined the staff of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney's new American art museum in New York City, the Whitney Museum of American Art. The museum provided him with the funds he needed to research and complete his book on Thomas Eakins, which he achieved in 1933. In 1935, he became curator of the museum, and associate director in 1948. He served as director from 1958-1968. The bequest of the Edward Hopper collection to the Whitney was the result of Goodrich's reputation as a scholar of Edward Hopper. After retiring, Goodrich continued his association with the Whitney as advisory director and director emeritus.
Goodrich was instrumental in starting the American Art Research Council in 1942, a group of museums devoted to collecting scholarly records about American art. He sat on the advisory panels for the New York State Council on the Arts and the Fine Arts Advisory Committee to the White House. In 1933, he was in charge of the New York regional office of the Public Works of Art Project. He also served as chairman of the National Council on the Arts and Government from 1948 to 1954 and was a major force in the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities. He was a member of the Artists Equity Association, Artist Tenants Association, and numerous other arts organizations and a strong advocate for the promotion and support of American art and artists.
Throughout his long and distinguished career as a writer and museum administrator, Lloyd Goodrich worked to build a body of scholarship related to the history of American art and artists. He published several important monographs, including works on Thomas Eakins, Edward Hopper, Albert Pinkham Ryder, Winslow Homer, and Reginald Marsh, and organized major exhibitions about these and many other artists during his 57-year association with the Whitney Museum of American Art. At the time of his death, Goodrich was considered a preeminent figure in the American art world, and one of the foremost authorities on Eakins, Ryder, and Homer, artists on which he kept extensive research files throughout his life.
Lloyd Goodrich died March 27, 1987.