Oil on linen
90 1/8 x 67 1/8 inches
Wichita Art Museum, Museum purchase, Friends of the Wichita Art Museum
Not Currently on Display
About the Artwork
Throughout the history of art, from early Egyptian and Babylonian times down to the present, the theme of the Mother and Child has appeared repeatedly. The image itself has timeless appeal and has found expression in both religious and secular subject matter, traditionally portraying the mother, seated, or standing, holding the child either in her arms or on her lap.
An unusual variation of the traditional types is seen in this most charming work titled Daydream and painted in 1986-87 by Sidney Goodman. Here what is depicted is a living experience, for the mother and child are portraits of the artist’s wife and infant son.
The mother, snugly wrapped in a heavy blanket, lies in bed with her head resting gently on a deep yellow embroidered pillow. She smiles admiringly at her infant son who is lying on a nearby quilt, laughing happily and with his arms raised. Brightly colored stuffed animals, rattles and teething rings are scattered about the bed.
The mother’s right hand extends toward the infant, while in her left hand she holds what is clearly a magazine open to a page showing a large photographic reproduction of a human embryo. She is the source of life and the perpetuator of civilization and, at the same time, the symbol of protection, patience and strength, all of which is reinforced by the sense of confident spontaneity expressed in the tender human relationship seen in this work.
Over and above the subject matter itself, what is especially interesting here is the harmonious combination of realism on the one hand and pure abstraction on the other. For, while the modeling of forms and the sensuous rendering of flesh tones are accomplished with meticulous precision, the left edge and upper left corner of the composition are an undefined blue and gray vaporous abstraction within which the subject of the composition appears to float. In a very real sense, the effect emphasizes the eternal and other-worldly significance of the subject which is so humanely and sensitively treated by the artist.
Sidney Goodman was born in Philadelphia in 1936. He studied at the Philadelphia College of Art beginning in 1954 and took a teaching position there in 1960 which he continued to hold for the ensuing 20 years. However, in 1964, he traveled throughout the nation on a Guggenheim Fellowship, studying American society and American social behavior, a fact that has undoubtedly contributed to his interest in representational realism.