Noted: Jeremiah Goodman, the Rembrandt of 20th-Century Rooms

Noted: Jeremiah Goodman, the Rembrandt of 20th-Century Rooms

- in Real Estate
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Now 94, Mr. Goodman is the subject of a 70-year career retrospective at Dessin Fournir Gallery in Los Angeles. The exhibition, which runs through June 9, includes 55 original gauche paintings of his dreamy interiors, showcasing the homes of the photographer Bruce Weber, the designer James Galanos, Nancy Reagan, Mary Martin and the Duchess of Windsor, among others.

Bruce Weber’s study.

Credit
Jeremiah Goodman

Asked to cite one of his favorite interiors to paint, Mr. Goodman mentioned the home of the surrealistic interior designer Rose Cumming.

“Hers was really like a magic box, with trickery and romance and lighting and all the stuff one puts into their head,” Mr. Goodman said.

The gallery show continues a late-life rediscovery of the artist, which started in 2007 when PowerHouse Books published “Jeremiah: A Romantic Vision.” The next year, Carolina Herrera used Mr. Goodman’s painting of red deck chairs as inspiration for a print in her resort collection. In 2015, Marc Jacobs cited the artist in his runway show, incorporating large, wall-size illustrations of Ms. Vreeland’s living room done in Mr. Goodman’s style.

Dean Rhys Morgan, a Britain-based gallerist and art dealer who has represented Mr. Goodman since 2008, said the artist’s work remains singular today, and evokes a bygone time.

“People do watercolors, but not the extreme romanticism that his work has,” Mr. Rhys Morgan said. “He’d make the most pedestrian rooms look incredible. It’s extraordinary, magic.”

A butcher’s son from Niagara Falls, N.Y., Mr. Goodman set out in the 1940s to be a Hollywood set designer. But a brief period working for Joseph B. Platt, who designed the sets for “Gone With the Wind,” turned him off to the film industry. Seventy years later, the memory of the experience still haunts.

A view of the exterior of Bob Hope’s Los Angeles home.

Credit
Jeremiah Goodman

“He was notoriously difficult,” Mr. Goodman said of Mr. Platt. “He tried to be successful by being the great prima donna of all time.”

Instead, Mr. Goodman, who studied at the Parsons School of Design, began illustrating interiors, initially doing an assignment for House & Garden magazine, and then for anyone who would pay him. He worked for Lord & Taylor, illustrating the department store’s print advertisements, and for 15 years, from 1952 to 1967, did the covers of Interior Design magazine.

Gregarious and charming, Mr. Goodman befriended actors and writers like Sir John Gielgud and Edward Albee, and society gatekeepers like the Hollywood florist David Jones, who helped him secure commissions to paint the homes of the glamour set, including Betsy Bloomingdale and Mrs. Reagan.

Mr. Goodman, who lives in Manhattan, is retired now. And with the gallery show, he will be selling many of his paintings for the first time, a decision about which the nonagenarian is sanguine.

“I’d rather see the paintings go than me go,” he said.

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