Ever wondered what Taplow, Gwelo and the Boer War have in common? As is often the case with history, and even more so the history of art, one finds some connection between things that seem far apart. Enter the story, Robert Gwelo Goodman.
As a maturing artist, Goodman spent time painting all over the world; Europe, India and South Africa were all part of his itinerary. As the 20th century kicked-off, he exhibited some of his Boer War artwork in both England and South Africa. According to his account he was struggling to make a name for himself and started adding ‘Gwelo’ to his name. The then-Rhodesian, now called Gweru, was founded in 1895, the same year that Goodman started his own career.
The First World War gave Robert Gwelo Goodman good reason to return to South Africa. While getting used to the novelty of his new home, he became a member of the South African Society of Artists and the Johannesburg Sketch Club. Bringing with him considerable experience, he felt strongly about South African artists finding their own style and expression.
As he started settling in the South African art scene, his fingerprints were being left for all to see. He is often remembered as the master of sunshine, but this only developed during is latter years, as noted by Newton Thompson. His portfolio is mostly filled with landscapes, but Goodman also has a few interior scenes, architectural painting and even designed two building; a truly diverse collection.
Robert Gwelo Goodman spent a large part of his adult life in Cape Town, quite a distance from his birthplace, Taplow, in England. According to his biographer he was a man who believed in the values of hard work and individualism over the emerging modernist ideas; something which set him apart from the ‘crowd’.
(source: http://www.johansborman.co.za, www.stellenboschartgallery.com, www.invaluable.com)