Till Goodan

 

Art of The Old West

 

 

To the casual observer his paintings are exciting and colorful. To the scholars of the Western Era they are benchmarks of authenticity. Such is the style of Till Goodan.

 

He was born Tillman Parker Goodan in Eaton, Colorado on March 27, 1896. His father was a true western pioneer, mayor of Eaton, publisher of its first newspaper, and County Commissioner for several years.

 

After moving to California in 1905 and settling on a little farm that bordered the Michel Cattle Ranch, Till spent much of his boyhood with the Michel sons working on their ranch. There he developed his expertise as a calf roper and the skills of a working cowboy.

 

As a young man Till pursued endeavors that would initially callus his emerging artistic hands. He worked for the famous Miller and Lux Ranch in California. He packed mules and ran pack trains into the Sierra Mountains. He broke horses and competed in local rodeos riding saddle broncs and roping calves. And during the quiet hours he would draw pictures of ranch life and the action of the rodeo. People began commenting on his talents as an artist.

 

In 1917 he left the rodeo circuit and turned his full attention to a career in art. He studied with Roger Sterrett, William Paxton, and Dana Bartlett, all highly respected California artists. Till soon became a free-lance commercial artist doing work for Grauman's Chinese and Lowe's Theatres, Helms Bakery and Security Bank. He later assumed a position as Art Director for the Richfield Oil Company. However, his first love was still the art of the old west, horses, cowboys, and ranching. So, he left Richfield and gave his full attention to the field of fine arts. He did oil paintings, horse portraits, water colors and lithographs. He drew the Gene Autry Comic Books. He illustrated and hand lettered a large collection of stories about famous bucking horses, ranches, horsemen of the world, and western gear. In association with W. C. Wentz, he started producing a complete line of western gift wares, ceramics, bronzes, leather, paper, and fabric. Till Goodan designs appeared in virtually every medium. But, the most famous was the four lines of dinnerware produced by Wallace China: Pioneer Trails, Longhorn, Boots and Saddles, and Rodeo. The "Rodeo" pattern was a tremendous success. The wonderful action drawings of Rodeo events surrounded by authentic cattle brands appealed to Westerners of every persuasion. "Rodeo" dinnerware graced the tables of restaurants, hotels, and ranches. Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Bing Crosby owned sets of "Rodeoware." Today all the dinnerware patterns are prized collectibles.

 

Till Goodan spent most of his life in California. He established a permanent studio/home in Hollywood and over the years he owned a ranch near the town of Lebec, along with a mountain retreat in the Sierras. He painted the California landscape, but, many of his paintings reflect his love for the Arizona and New Mexico desert. His artwork was always authentic in every detail because he painted what he knew from first hand experience.

 

He enjoyed his western lifestyle until the day he died. On May 24, 1958, while serving as Grand Marshall of the Tulare California Rodeo, he succumbed to a heart attack while sitting on his horse.

 

Till Goodan's name lives on as his work is being recreated once again, most notably by Jacob Roberts Inc. of Los Angeles. They ate producing fine silk neckties copied from the twelve original patterns manufactured in the 1940's. They are licensed by Betty Goodan Andrews, Till Goodan's, daughter and only heir. Betty has licensed three other companies to reproduce Till Goodan's work. She retains sole control of the Till Goodan name, likeness, voice and signature as deemed by law in the states of Texas and California. Much to the delight and satisfaction for fans new and old of the early Western Era, Till Goodan art is reemerging and finding its way back into their hearts.