Sidney Goodman, Could This Have Been?

Sidney Goodman: Could This Have Been? (c. 1958) Oil on canvas
Could This Have Been?
c. 1958
Oil on canvas
Credit Line
Museum purchase, Charles Knox Smith Acquisition Fund, 2012
26" x 36"

Sidney Goodman's enigmatic narrative poses a rhetorical question with its title, Could This Have Been? Made in direct reference to the Holocaust, the painting responds to the heinous crimes of the Third Reich and expresses a broader sense of horror at the violence of so much of the twentieth century. Two emaciated cadavers fill the expanse of the lower register of the painting. Above and at right, a man with a blue head throws his hands in the air, a dramatic gesture of reaction. A second figure at left seems to turn away, but his eyes are turned down, suggesting a more inward reaction of grief.


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