Godwin Painting Going Home

Oriental Circus by Judith Godwin

“Oriental Circus” by Judith Godwin ’52 (1986, oil on canvas, 50″x126″), pictured on a gray background

A historically and culturally significant work of art by Mary Baldwin alumna and renowned Abstract Expressionist artist Judith Godwin ’52 will soon return to New York City and to a gallery that proudly exhibits a large body of Godwin’s work.

The Berry Campbell Gallery — located in the heart of Chelsea — is interested in purchasing Godwin’s “Oriental Circus” (1986, oil on canvas, 50″x126″) from the university.

Berry Campbell specializes in artists of post-war American painting that have traditionally been overlooked, particularly women of Abstract Expressionism, and holds more than 20 of Godwin’s works in its collection. 

Godwin (1930–2021) was an internationally celebrated Abstract Expressionist painter based in New York City. Her paintings are in the collections of more that 50 major museums worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Born in Suffolk, Godwin came to Mary Baldwin in 1948 with the Class of 1952, and studied with noted artists and professors Elizabeth Nottingham and Horace Day. In 1950, she transferred to Richmond Professional Institute of the College of William and Mary, now Virginia Commonwealth University, where she was able to pursue a degree in fine arts. Godwin remained a dedicated supporter of Mary Baldwin, and served on the Board of Trustees from 1984 to 1989.

In 1992, Godwin gave “Oriental Circus” to MBU’s Art and Art History department. The large and dynamic three-panel painting had been included in an alumni group show at Hunt Gallery that same year. Most recently, “Oriental Circus” has been displayed at Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences in Fishersville.

The sale is planned for this summer and is being coordinated by Brig. Gen. Teresa Djuric, USAF, Retired, and Professor Emerita of Art History Marlena Hobson.