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Detail: Betty Woodman walking under torii gates, Japan, 1990 / Pair: Details of Betty Woodman and George Woodman in a traditional ryokan inn, Japan, 1990 / Betty Woodman, Japan, 1990 / George Woodman, Japan, 1990 / George Woodman, Shinto shrine, Japan, 1990 / Hōryū-ji Temple, Nara, Japan, 1990 / Buddhist Guardian statue, Hōryū-ji Temple, Nara, Japan, 1990 / Pillars, Hōryū-ji Temple, Nara, Japan, 1990 / Shave ice stall, Japan, 1990. Woodman Family Foundation Archives.
Detail: Betty Woodman walking under torii gates, Japan, 1990. Woodman Family Foundation Archives.
Betty Woodman and George Woodman in Japan, 1990

As the solstice today marks the official beginning of summer, we are reminded of the Woodmans’ extensive travels around the world and their months immersed in global artistic influences.

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Happy birthday to Betty Woodman

Happy birthday to Betty Woodman—a garden enthusiast and artist who ingeniously experimented with her lifelong muse, the vase, and its multitude of sculptural possibilities.

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L to R: Detail of Betty Woodman / Betty Woodman, Uxmal, Yucatán, Mexico, c. 1980s / Betty Woodman and friend, Yucatán, Mexico, c. 1980s / Pyramid of the Magician, Uxmal, Yucatán, Mexico, c. 1980s / Pyramid of the Magician, Uxmal, Yucatán, Mexico, c. 1980s / George Woodman, Yucatán, Mexico, c. 1980s / Betty Woodman, Hotel Real Toledo by Kavia, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, c. 1980s / George Woodman, Hotel Real Toledo by Kavia, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, c. 1980s / George Woodman, Hotel Real Toledo by Kavia, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, c. 1980s. Woodman Family Foundation Archives.
Detail of Betty Woodman, Uxmal, Yucatán, Mexico, c. 1980s. Woodman Family Foundation Archives.
Yucatán, Mexico, c. 1980s: SUMMER TRAVELS WITH THE WOODMAN FAMILY

The Woodmans’ travels also took them beyond the historical and cultural capitals of Europe. For Betty and George, this included trips to India, China, Japan, Korea, and more than one visit to Mexico—a country where they spent three months on their honeymoon in the summer of 1953. Here they are in the 1980s exploring the ancient Mayan city of Uxmal, home to the Pyramid of the Magician, as well as some of Yucatan’s more recent architectural gems.

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L to R: Charles Woodman, George Woodman, and Betty Woodman, Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy, c. 1966 / George Woodman, Florence, Italy, 1966 / Francesca Woodman and Charles Woodman, Fiesole, Italy, c. 1966 / Charles Woodman and Francesca Woodman, Pompeii, Metropolitan City of Naples, Campania, Italy, 1966 / Charles Woodman and Francesca Woodman, Alhambra, Granada, Spain, c. 1966 / Tile detail Alhambra, Granada, Spain / Detail of George Woodman, ceramic tile installation Delavan-Canisius College Station, NFTA-Metro, Buffalo, NY, 1984 / George Woodman. “A Gentle Tessellation,” 1966-68. 43 1/4 x 43 1/34 in. Acrylic paint on canvas / George Woodman with tile mural commissioned by General Motors and the Detroit Transportation Corporation. Detail of the work in progress on the floor of George's studio, Antella, Italy, 2003. All images Woodman Family Foundation Archives unless otherwise noted. All artworks © Woodman Family Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Charles Woodman, George Woodman, and Betty Woodman, Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy, c. 1966. Woodman Family Foundation Archives.
Family trips to Florence, Fiesole, and Pompeii in Italy, and Granada, Spain. c. 1966: SUMMER TRAVELS WITH THE WOODMAN FAMILY

The Woodmans spent another year together just outside of Florence from 1965-66. Betty had a Fulbright-Hays fellowship and George a faculty fellowship from the University of Colorado, while Charlie and Francesca attended the local public school. Of course they did not miss the opportunity to take breaks for traveling and exploring. Here they are wandering through Florence, nearby Fiesole, Pompeii and onward to Granada, Spain where they visited the Alhambra—one of the best-preserved palaces of Islamic architecture, with walls and floors covered in geometric mosaic tiles.

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L to R: Francesca Woodman, 1971 / Pair: Betty Woodman, 1971 / George Woodman, 1971 / Francesca Woodman and friend, 1971 / Betty Woodman and friend, 1966 / Francesca Woodman and Charles Woodman, 1966 / George Woodman, 1966 / View of Acropolis of Athens from boat, Athens, Greece, 1966 / Betty Woodman, Greece, 1971 / Francesca Woodman, Greece, 1971. All images Acropolis of Athens, Athens, Greece unless otherwise noted. Woodman Family Foundation Archives.
Francesca Woodman, Acropolis of Athens, Athens, Greece, 1971. Woodman Family Foundation Archives.
Acropolis of Athens, Athens, Greece, 1971 and 1966: SUMMER TRAVELS WITH THE WOODMAN FAMILY

The Woodman family made at least two trips to Greece together—or more as Francesca later described when discussing her monumental diazotype construction of a temple: "It’s funny how while I was living in Italy the culture there didn’t affect me that much and now I have all this fascination with the architecture etc, Francesca who as a child visited the Acropolis 3 times and always yawned.” The impact and influence of classical ruins, the architecture as well as the female form, can also be seen in both Betty’s and George’s work over many decades.

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L to R: Pair: Francesca Woodman, Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, France, 1960 / Charles Woodman, Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, France, 1960 / Detail of Betty Woodman and Francesca Woodman / Betty Woodman and Francesca Woodman, Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, France, 1960 / Charles Woodman, Fontaine des Quatre-Parties-du-Monde, Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, France, 1960 / Francesca Woodman and Charles Woodman, Paris, France, 1960 / Musée du Louvre, Paris, France, 1960 / Paris, France, 1960 / Betty Woodman and Charles Woodman, Paris, France, 1960. Woodman Family Foundation Archives.
Pair: Francesca Woodman, Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, France, 1960 / Charles Woodman, Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, France, 1960. Woodman Family Foundation Archives.
Paris, France, 1960: SUMMER TRAVELS WITH THE WOODMAN FAMILY

The Woodman family spent the year of 1959-1960 on the first of their many trips to Italy together, living near Florence. Betty and George both set up studios there and got to work. They also used their Italian home-base to see the sites around Europe, which meant that Francesca and Charlie began traveling with their parents from a young age. Here they are on a family trip to Paris in 1960, having a fun-filled day in Jardin du Luxembourg, enjoying sweet treats, and visiting museums like the Louvre.

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L to R: 1-2: Betty Woodman with Francesca Woodman and Charles Woodman, passport, 1959 / 3-4: George Woodman, passport, 1959 / 5-6: Betty Woodman with Charles Woodman and Francesca Woodman, passport, 1965 / 7-8: George Woodman, passport, 1965 / 9-10: Betty Woodman with Francesca Woodman, passport, 1970. Woodman Family Foundation Archives.
Betty Woodman with Francesca Woodman and Charles Woodman, passport, 1959. Woodman Family Foundation Archives.
The Woodmans' passports, 1959, 1965, and 1970: SUMMER TRAVELS WITH THE WOODMAN FAMILY

As everyone heads out on vacation this August, we’re taking a look back at the Woodman family’s travels throughout the years with images from our archives…Throwback to a time when kids had to be on their moms passport! The Woodman family loved to travel and visited Naples, Milan, Florence, Paris, Quebec, London, Granada, New York City, Croatia (then a part of Yugoslavia), Istanbul, and Copenhagen between 1959 to 1974.

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George Woodman's summer travels, c. 1960s-1990s: From the Archives...

Here are a series of portraits of George Woodman, an avid world traveler. George soaked up endless inspiration for art making and life on the family's summer travels throughout the years.

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L to R: The Woodman family and friends throughout the years in Antella, Italy, c. 1960s-2010s.
The Woodman family and friends, Antella, Italy, c. 1960s.
The breakfast nook, Antella, Italy, c. 1960s-2010s: From the Archives...

For over fifty years, the Woodman family has enjoyed many meals and conversations in the breakfast nook at their farmhouse in Antella, Italy. Built in a circular space that had originally housed a brick oven, the nook overlooks the hills of Tuscany and spectacular sunsets.

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Our archives intern Molly McBride Jacobson digs into unsorted family photographs from our archives: From the Archives...

The Woodman Family Foundation archives include boxes and boxes of family photographs, spanning the early days George and Betty spent in Albuquerque where they welcomed their son Charlie into the world; to their move to a modernist home in Boulder—the site of many birthday parties, pottery sales, impromptu installations of paintings and Francesca’s earliest experiments with “dress up;” until just a few years ago enjoying breakfast with their grandson Alexander in both New York and Antella.

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L to R: Entrance to the Woodman family’s farmhouse adorned with a Pillow Pitcher by Betty atop a wall of George’s “sgraffito,” 2017 / View of the olive groves from Betty’s studio, 2004 / Betty cutting well-tended roses growing against the wall next to her studio, 2008 / Betty making flower arrangements with roses, dahlias and gerbera daisies from her garden, 2006 / Betty putting fresh flowers in a group of her “Vase and Stand” works, 1984 / Betty, a young family friend, and Francesca, c. late 1960s / Table set for dinner, 2016, photo by Brigid McCaffrey / Generous bowls and baskets full of figs, plums, peaches, grapes, and tomatoes, 2016 / Betty, Charlie and Francesca cooking together, c. early 1970s / George at his studio door, 2006 / A view out from the same door, 2008 / Francesca and Betty holding their bunnies, c. 1968 / Charlie on his motorino, c. late 1960s / Betty and friend with Betty’s triptych “June in Italy” (2001), c. 2001 / George with his sculpture, c. early 1970s / he Woodman family’s patio with potted geraniums and the olive grove in view, c. 1990s / Morning glories climbing George’s “sgrafitto” wall, c. 1990s.
L to R: Entrance to the Woodman family’s farmhouse adorned with a Pillow Pitcher by Betty atop a wall of George’s “sgraffito,” 2017 / George with his sculpture, c. early 1970s / Betty, Charlie and Francesca cooking together, c. early 1970s / Betty cutting well-tended roses growing against the wall next to her studio, 2008.
AUGUST IN ANTELLA

Beginning in the summer of 1968, the Woodman Family spent every summer at their stone farmhouse in Antella, Italy, just outside of Florence. As children, Charlie and Francesca joined their parents and later visited on their own, soaking in Italian culture and influences. Betty and George made some of their most important artistic breakthroughs there—a place George once described as "an artist residency for two.” All summer long, their garden produced abundant food and flowers—the tomatoes were particularly good in August, happily shared with frequent visitors.

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