Born in Cortland New York in 1917, Robert Goodnough broke away from his traditional artistic background when he discovered Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Piet Mondrian in 1945. This discovery, so vastly different from his convectional education at Syracuse University, inspired him to move to New York City to study under Amédee Ozenfant, and was introduced to Purism in painting. In 1947 Goodnough went to study with Hans Hoffman, where he met Larry Rivers, Clement Greenberg, Alfred Leslie, and became a part of the inner circle of the New York School.
Tatyana Grosman invited Goodnough to work at ULAE in 1960, for the New York Hilton portfolio. Goodnough’s work translated fluidly into lithography, as he did not work from sketches, was familiar with collage, and had mastered a calligraphic handling in the 1950s.