top of page

Charles Goeller (1901 – 1955)

Updated: Feb 14

23. Despair Among Glasses, by 1954

Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 inches, Signed lower right



1) Associated Artists of New Jersey 7th Annual New York Exhibition, Artist’s Equity Gallery, New York, November, 1954 (see Lenson, Michael, “The Realm of Art . . . Associated Artist of N.J. Annual.” (see Newark Sunday News, November 14, 1954 (illustrated) - “Among a number of strong paintings in the show, there are four (two realist and two abstract) that strike a common chord of dejection, and none is meant to entertain. Leo Quanchi, Maxwell Simpson, Minna Citron and Charles Goeller are the authors in this graphic four-act drama . . . Goeller, on the other hand, deals mercilessly with the facts and in his ‘Despair Among Glasses,’ they are the facts of loneliness. Seen under the intense light above a drafting table, is the painter’s forearm, surrounded by a variety of glasses, an enlarging glass, a blue drinking glass and an empty liqueur glass, and a quantity of stubbed cigarette butts. It is painted with devasting and unnerving realism.”), 2) 2nd Juried Exhibition of Work by New Jersey Artists, Newark Museum, March 29 – May 1, 1955 (“Art Exhibit at Museum,” The Newark Daily News, March 27, 1955, “Works by five artists who have died since 1952 are included. The show will be a special tribute to the five – John Marin, Anne Ryan, Lewis Daniel, Sanford Ross and Charles Goeller.” (label verso), 3) Memorial Exhibition, Charles L. Goeller, Gus Eager, Bror J. O. Nordfeldt, Hunterdon County Art Center, Clinton, New Jersey, September 9 – 30, 1956, and 4) Emotion Expressed Through Precision: The Art of Charles Goeller, Franklin Riehlman Fine Art and Megan Moynihan Fine Art, New York, 2003


Stavitsky, Gail, Emotion Expressed Through Precision: The Art of Charles Goeller, Franklin Reihlman Fine Art and Megan Moynihan Fine Art, New York (2003), unpaginated (illustrated) (“In 1939 Goeller returned to New Jersey. He had already worked at his father’s steel firm during a strike in 1938. In his later years Goeller recalled ‘I’ve relapsed into the family trade long enough to design a factory.’ The artist’s conflicted involvement with the family business is suggested by the still life elements of the paintings Unsolved Problem and Despair Among Glasses. In the latter work, the harsh glare of a desk lamp illuminates various kinds of glasses, including an empty liqueur glass, a blueprint, a mysterious equation possibly associated with probability or symbolic logic, strewn cigarette butts, and the weary artist/amateur mathematician’s forearm. The frustration of family work is similarly suggested in Unsolved Problem in which half rolled blueprints are juxtaposed with the artist’s glasses, a half-eaten orange, and a stack of cigarette butts. The welcome distraction of the world at large is evoked by the open window to the left. These paintings suggest possible motivations for the never-married Goeller’s habits of drinking and smoking to excess. When Despair Among Glasses was exhibited in the 1954 Associated Artists of New Jersey Annual, it was movingly described by fellow artist-critic Michael Lenson as dealing ‘mercilessly with the facts . . . of loneliness . . . painted with devasting and unnverving realism.' The window to the outdoors in Unsolved Problem is an indication of Goeller’s interest in painting landscapes, which evolved along with his observation of the impact of suburban building developments on the open New Jersey countryside.")


bottom of page