Photographs by Francis Goodman (1913-89) will go on display from 23 April 2013 at the National Portrait Gallery, London to mark the centenary of Goodman’s birth. This first museum retrospective display will include his portrait, fashion and photojournalistic work. His subjects came from the worlds of art, design, film and high society. The Gallery has recently researched and catalogued most of the extensive archive bequest of his work. Most of the works have not been on public display before.
The majority of Goodman’s early work was lost during World War II but his surviving collection of original negatives was bequeathed to the National Portrait Gallery in 1989. This commemorative display will contain over 40 black and white photographs spanning Goodman’s career from the 1930s to the 1970s.Francis Goodman: Back in Focus will include portraits of artists Pietro Annigoni, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, and writers Margery Allingham, Noël Coward, Patricia Highsmith and Nancy Mitford.
Francis Goodman (formerly Gutmann) was born on 23 June 1913 in London to German-Jewish parents. He was brought up in Munich, Germany, but returned to England in 1931. At this time he became apprenticed to photographer Shaw Wildman and later worked with avant-garde photographer Peter Rose-Pulham at his Berkeley Square studio. During this period Goodman established himself as a fashion photographer and contributed to the British edition of Harper’s Bazaar and The Sketch. Early society subjects included Anna May Wong and Gertrude Lawrence.
The years of the Second World War saw Goodman move to the RAF’s Photographic Interpretation Unit, but he returned to society and fashion work in 1945, publishing his pictures in other style and fashion magazines including: Tatler and Bystander, Gentlemen’s Quarterly and Cloth and Clothes. He captured the trendsetters of the day including Terence Conran in 1952, and Patrick Lichfield and Douglas Fairbanks Jr in the 1960s. In the same decade, he was employed by the Tourist Boards of the Bahamas, Barbados and Jamaica, photographing celebrities relaxing on holiday such as Kingsley Amis and Fred Perry. It was in Jamaica that Goodman took the last photographs of Ian Fleming on his estate ‘Goldeneye’.
Constantia Nicolaides, Photographs Cataloguer, National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘When Francis Goodman died, he left the National Portrait Gallery two laundry baskets containing his archive. The baskets are long gone, but their contents can now tell the story of this forgotten yet hardworking and modest photographer, while revealing intriguing portraits of some of the twentieth-century’s greatest cultural figures’.
FRANCIS GOODMAN: BACK IN FOCUS Room 31 from 23 April until 3 November 2013, National Portrait Gallery, London admission free