From 1999-2000 I studied at the Art Institute of Boston (now part of Lesley University). I remember at the time there was great fervor for Nathan Goldstein’s classes, as he’d just taken a year sabbatical, he wrote many popular books on drawing, and there was a solo show of his hanging in the school’s gallery. The gallery was filled with his oils and a vetrine full of his sketchbooks. Here are a few of those paintings that I could find online.
I took some of my first organized life drawing classes with Nathan while I was at the school. He sort of seemed like a Jedi Master to the students- he drew deftly and quickly, often drawing his demonstrations from memory. During a demo, when he asked the students to suggest a position for him to draw the figure, one of the students snarkily suggested “falling from a building” he obliged, and after drawing the skeleton and figure, drew drapery studies on the figure, complete with rippling wind effect. He had a good sense of humor.
I only took a couple classes with Nathan, though he was present for many critiques, and to be honest I sort of hounded after him. As I said, people sought him out, the elder statesman at AiB, for his advice and experience. ”Use a bigger brush and call me in the morning” was a story he recounted about how he dealt with a frustrated student calling him for advice at night.
Although our contact was brief, in retrospect, I owe a lot to Nathan. He was the first teacher to tell me that the bones of any good painting is good drawing, and that learning to draw has very little with pencil and paper. It’s about learning to see.
There will be a memorial for Nathan at the Danforth Museum in Framingham on September 28th.