Robert Gwelo Goodman was born in 1871, Taplow, England. Goodman's The Parade and the City Hall, Cape Town (1917) is a painting that has special relevance for this exhibition. It is a view of the environs of the two main venues used for SASA's first exhibitions: the Drill Hall and, in the centre, the City Hall, which opened in 1905. The view is taken from an upper window in the former Theatre Building, where the present Cape Town GPO now stands. This was a window of a room once referred to as "the finest studio in South Africa" (The Cape Argus, 19.4.1906). This was the same grand atelier of Philip Tennyson Cole, the workshop of Madeleine and Denis Santry and then the studio of Goodman himself. Goodman's membership of SASA must date from 1897, when he was still a student. His then mentor was J.S. Morland, the first SASA President.
The catalogue of the 1898 SASA Exhibition lists Goodman as a member and also three works that were sent to the Cape from London. A local report on the exhibition, while full of praise, also noted his student status: "Several works ...by Mr Robert Good-man, now studying in England, will no doubt be observed with interest, the artist being the son of the station-master at Wynberg and a former pupil of Mr J.S. Morland, the president of the Society ...The work is, however, obviously that of a conscientious student and undoubtedly displays great ability ... "(The Cape Times: 30.7.1898). In 1902 Goodman showed at the Drill Hall as a member of the SADC, and thereafter his last recorded showing with SASA was in 1921.
His biographer Joyce Newton Thompson makes no reference at all to any of these SASA exhibitions in her listings (1951:127 ff.). SASA later became of no concern to the artist as he grew in the conviction that institutionalised art activity was irrelevant (1951:100). He was, happy however, to be a sought-after personality by various societies, including SASA. On the 1921 SASAAnnual Exhibition, his pastel Mont aux Sources, Drakensberg and his oil Stellenberg (shown at the RA in 1919) were exhibited by special invitation. He was also invited to lecture to the SASA membership on such nebulous topics as "Ideals in Art". Goodman was friendly with the architect James Morris, a later President of SASA, who advised him on the hanging of his exhibitions. He died Cape Town, 1939
Exhibitor on SASA-related exhibitions c.1898 - 1950: 1898: Second Annual Exh. Of SASA, Band. Rm., Good Hope Hall, 30;ul,1902: SASA/SADC 1st Annual Exh,. Drill Hail, Darling St., 9 Dec., as part of the Loan Collection exhibited by SADC. 1921: SASA 20 th Annual Exh. (venue not stated) Mar. (no date).