"Must the artist, like the tight-rope walker in a dream-like state of composure, yet always aware of the gulf at his feet, feel both the elation and the uneasiness? One is made forcibly aware of the tension under which one has been working by the sense of relief with which one contemplates a work well done, or of extreme dejection before a badly realized work. There is no truce in this conflict until the brushes are laid down." Goodridge Roberts, 1953

Goodridge Roberts was born on September 24, 1904, in Barbados, where his parents were on holiday from Fredericton. He was a Canadian painter best known for his Quebec landscapes. Roberts studied at the École des beaux-arts in Montreal from 1923 until 1925, where he won prize after prize during his first year as a student. In 1926, Roberts went to New York and studied at the Art Students League. In 1929 he returned to Fredericton where he worked for a year as a draftsman with the provincial forestry service. Roberts moved to Ottawa in 1930. He organized a class at the Ottawa Art Association, where he exhibited his work and opened a summer art school in Wakefield, Quebec. Roberts would spend his summers painting in a number of different regions of Eastern Canada, including Georgian Bay, the Laurentians, Eastern Townships and Charlevoix.


In 1932, Roberts held his first solo exhibition at Montreal's Arts Club. He became first resident artist at Queen's University in Kingston, got married and four years later moved back to Montreal. He partnered with artist, Ernst Neumann to open the Roberts-Neumann School of Art. In 1938, Roberts had his first major exhibition at W. Scott and Sons and became a charter member of the Eastern Group of Painters and a member of the Contemporary Arts Society a year later. He taught at the Art Association of Montreal for the better part of a decade, with a two-year gap during World War II when he was stationed in England as an official war artist. Roberts was elected a member of both the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour and the Canadian Society of Graphic Art. In 1953, Roberts received a fellowship to paint in Europe, and spent several months in Paris, Italy and on the Cote d'Azur. He became a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1956. In 1959, he was appointed the first artist-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick.


From 1960 to 1974, Goodridge Roberts exhibited at the National Gallery of Canada, Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Tate Gallery and the Commonwealth Institute in London and in the Canadian Pavilion of Expo 67. Roberts had many solo exhibitions in private galleries across Canada. In 1969, the National Gallery of Canada held a retrospective show of his work, a rare honour for a living artist. That same year he was made a member of the Order of Canada. He died in Montreal at the age of 69. Following his death, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario, held a retrospective show.


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