William Goodridge Roberts (1904-1974), well-known Canadian artist of landscape, still-life and human figure painting, attended the Ecole des beaux-arts in Montreal (1923-1925) and the Art Students’ League in New York (1927-1929). Goodridge Roberts was the first artist-in-residence at Queen’s University (1933-1936) where he gave art classes, lectures on art appreciation and arranged a series of exhibitions. He moved to Montreal in 1936 and after trying to support himself from the sale of his work alone, he founded the Roberts-Neumann School of Art with Ernst Neumann (1907-1956). He later established a pattern of teaching at the Art Association of Montreal School of Art and Design (1939-1943; 1945-1949) and spending the summer months painting in rural Quebec, predominately the Eastern Townships, the Laurentians and the Outaouais, and at Georgian Bay. Goodridge Roberts became a charter member of the Eastern Group (1938), a charter member of the Contemporary Arts Society, and was elected to membership of both the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour and the Canadian Society of Graphic Art (all in 1939). In 1952 Goodridge Roberts’ work was chosen, together with that of David Milne (1882-1953), Emily Carr (1871-1945), and Alfred Pellan (1906-1988), for Canada’s first exhibition at the Venice Biennale. In 1953 he was awarded a Canadian Government overseas fellowship to work and travel in France and in 1954, under the patronage of the Canadian Embassy, his work was shown at the Galerie R.Creuse, Paris. Roberts was appointed the first resident-artist at the University of New Brunswick in 1959 and awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by the University in 1960. A major retrospective of Roberts’ work was organized by the National Gallery of Canada in 1969-1970 and by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in 1998-1999.
Private collection, Montreal
Biography courtesy of: National Gallery of Canada