Part spouse, part den mother, part Hollywood agent, she tends to her artists before all else, spending hours on the phone with them daily and frequently flying to their far-flung studios to check on them and their work. She crosses the Atlantic every six weeks, making pit stops in Germany, Italy and Paris, where her gallery has a small outpost.
A lifelong New Yorker, Goodman grew up on the Upper West Side in a family she prefers to call middle-class but that would probably be more accurately defined as affluent. She and her younger brother attended the Little Red School House downtown. “We used to take the subway train every morning,” she recalls. “By the time I was eight or nine, I was taking my brother alone. They used to make a place for us in the front of the car because we would play this marble game. And, uh, it was a different world, you can say that.” Her father, an accountant, collected art, particularly that of Milton Avery, the American modernist painter, whom he also befriended. “My dad was passionately interested. He would sometimes give me books to read, but I wasn’t that interested.”
Goodman aspired to “save the world,” she says, either by working for the United Nations or as a journalist. Instead, at 21 she married William Goodman, whom she met while she was a student at Emerson College, and quickly thereafter had a son and a daughter (neither of whom works for the gallery). She lived for more than a decade as a housewife, though she began to discover her own interest in art, and, in particular, in working with artists. “I thought, If I’m really serious about this, I should go back to school,” she says, “and get myself a proper education in art history.” She enrolled in the Ph.D. program at Columbia: “I was not only the oldest person in the class, but also the only woman.”