Thursday, April 21, 2011

NYC: Inspired Impressions

While touring thru the Kips Bay Showhouse in NYC last November, Michelle and I got to chatting with a student volunteer who was monitoring one of the rooms (she was sweet enough not to bust us for taking photos!).  We exchanged cards with her and when she saw that Michelle was not only an Interior Designer but also illustrated interior renderrings, she excitedly told us abut the Jeremiah Goodman exhibit over at the New York School of Interior Design and insisting we MUST go see it while we were in town.  We of course, standing there dumb struck with awe that we hadn't heard about this exhibit until now,,,, only needed to be pointed in the right direction.  Its one of those things that you couldn't have planned, but which you felt was so meant to be - the timing was perfect, here I was in NYC with who I consider to be one of the best interior renderrers in the industry today,,,,,with the opportunity to view the works of the legendary interior illustrator, Jeremiah Goodman.  Its true, the best things in life are never planned!  Since it was too late that day for us to make it to the exhibit  we planned our visit for the very next day, allowing us lots of time to soak it all in.

The school itself is located on a beautiful leafy sidestreet, on the upper east side.  The steet is lined with beautiful old brownstones.

I fell in love with the neighbourhood with its sidewalk cafes and flowers shops - despite how expensive everything is in NY,,I had never seen roses this cheap in my life.  And the colours!!!  I practically cried at the mere thought of walking away empty this day I'm still not over it.  I stare at this picture a LOT and dream of the fresh bunch of colourful roses I could have on my desk every week,,for ONLY $10.00!!!!!!  Oh,,,kay,,, so back to the exhibit...

That's Michelle, patiently waiting for me while I admire and snap photos of the streetscape.....and fantasize about how awesome it would have been to go this design school!

Inside the school student sketches lined the corridor wall outside the gallery space.

I'm sure I could hear Michelle's heart racing as we entered the exhibit space.  We were familiar with Jeremiah Goodman's work before we arrived at the school, but for those of you who aren't, I'm sure you'll recognize many of the designer spaces he's painted.  He's renderred some of the most beautiful and famous interiors of our time.

Jeremiah Goodman in his Upper East Side apartment, image via Interior Design.

For seven decades Jeremiah Goodman, now 88,  has produced his artistic interpretations illustrating the glamorous interiors of high profile decorators and their famous clients such as; Bill Blass, Diana Vreeland, Greta Garbo, David Hicks, Billy Baldwin and Tony Duquette.  Between the years of 1952 to 1967 he was commissioned to illustrate every cover of Interior Design Magazine, depicting photographs of rooms featured in the magazine.  The exhibit at the NYSID, Inspired Impressions was a retrospective showcasing 38 of his favorite interior paintings, works dating from 1947 to 2009.

His painting were considered interpretations rather than exact reproductions, he was known for improving on the original interiors, often making them more glamorous than they were in life and injecting them with personality.

The entire experience was so surreal to me,,,it was amazing to view these paintings with Michelle and hear her describing and admiring Jeremiah's technique for capturing light and shadow and how you could see his rough draft pencil lines.  From his older works to present day you could see how his technique evolved over the years, from literal to more impressionistic.

His used gouache and mixed media on illustration board for most all of his work, some are painted from life and some from photographs done while standing and working over a table, not an easel with some completed in no more than 2 hours.  Living Room, Bel Air, California 2006.

David Hicks London drawing room, 1985.

This was Carolina Herrera's NYC Living room, 2009.  She attended the opening Party of the exhibit.

One of my favorites was this more recent paintings, the New York City townhouse of Reed Krakoff, CEO of Coach, painted in 2009.
What I was impressed with more than anything when I looked at the rooms was not only how much personality each room had but how utterly timeless they were.  Without looking at the dates on the paintings we simply couldn't guess how old they were, a great reminder that that's the trademark of great design.

Only one day after returning to Toronto, I was out sourcing and stopped in my tracks when I spotted this Monograph of......Jeremiah Goodman.  And then I looked up and saw his framed renderrings hung on the walls throughout the showroom.  How strange was it that I had crossed paths with this artists work twice in one week, in two different cities?  When I told the showroom assistant that I had just seen an exhibit of his work only a couple of days ago she was shocked,,,and wanted to know all the details.  She hadn't heard about the show, even the book and the prints they had were pretty rare.  For the first time ever, Goodman's exclusive dealer, Dean Rhys Mogan, had just recently made available these signed limited edition giclee prints.  His work has never before been available in preproduction form, the book on display in the store wasn't even for sale.

The sales associate gave me a tour around the shop, telling me about each of the renderings.  It was a great to hear more about the spaces he painted becasue when Michelle and I saw the exhibit the pieces were simply labelled with date, location and homeowner, there was no one in the gallery to tell us the story about the rooms.

Framed L.E. signed giclees for sale at 12|12.

Jeremiah only painted rooms that he admired and of people that interested him, his interpretations expressed his emotional response to the room injecting mood and personality into the renderings that a computer aided drawing alone just can't capture.  Its a rare art form that I truly hope is not a dying breed (as he's described it himself), in fact I believe if anything that automation has brought about a resurgence and renewed appreciation for the quality of hand renderrings.  With talented designers like Michelle so graciously willing to share and teach others her techniques I hope this art form can live on in tandem with technology.   Thanks to all her inspiration, I'm picking up my pens and markers more than ever before and realizing how powerful this age old technique can be.

Top Photo:  Jeremiah Goodman's home studio via Interior Design


  1. I love his work - there is something so spirited about it.
    He captures the essence or the soul of a room. It reminds me of Christmas morning, full of excitement and intrigue.

  2. I had never heard of him so thank you for the education! His work is really beautiful!

  3. Now that my dear is pure kismet!!! You were meant to see this work and I bet it stays with you all your life. Perhaps leads you down a path you never thought of. A wonderful life isn't it?

  4. Amazing how many things fell into place here, just as if it was meant to be. So glad that you got to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity to see such talent. His paintings fairly dance off the page with life and colour. It must be EVEN more incredible in real life.

    Thoroughly loved this post.

  5. nice of you...i will always remember our trip, and our great time out with Patricia (a real talent in the industry :) )...I am truly blessed to know all you amazing women, and really need to do it again soon!!!



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