Chaim Goldberg has worked in nearly every medium available to the visual artist from watercolors to sculpture. But throughout his long career, one theme has been central to all his work-the dignity and nobleness of man.
Goldberg has a deep understanding of human values, for he has spent much of his 60-odd years searching for them. Born in a Polish village in 1917 in the Jewish "shtetl" he later moved to Siberia where the Soviets took a dim view of his realistic depictions of the simple peasants. Returning to Poland, he found the Russians had made it difficult for him to work there as well. He took his family to Israel and then finally America, where he now lives and works. But the "shietl," until recently, has remained the main motif in his art, just as it has for those two other famous Slavic emigrants, Marc Chagall and Isaac Bashevis Singer. Singer has said Goldberg's work "is enriching Jewish art and the image of our tradition."
Chagall has undoubtedly had a strong influence on Goldberg. They both celebrate the everyday village life as they remember it from childhood. Goldberg's domestic scenes may be more realistic on the surface, with fewer flights of inspired fancy, but they are no less true to their time and place. His watercolors are flowing and lyrical, vibrant in their bright colors. His people always seem to be in motion, moving in rhythm to the merry tune of that proverbial fiddler on the roof. In one painting it is a pair of young lovers dancing, in another a white-bearded water carrier kicking up his heels as he trods down a country road with his watery load. In a third canvass it is the musicians themselves who are the subject, beating the drum and playing the horn so the people can forget the misery of repression and prejudice for a time. And despite the darkness of civilization, life goes on. Babies are born, lovers are wed, and the teachings of the elders are passed on to the next generation. It is these themes of continuity and optimism that Chaim Goldberg has chosen to explore and reaffirm in his art.
At an age when most men are thinking of retiring or at least resting on their laurels, Goldberg continues to investigate new forms of expression to illuminate the human experience. Of his back yard studio in Houston, where he now lives, he says: "This is the place I've always dreamed about. I work in the sun. I am making new art now. More than ever before my work now expresses lightness, an optimism, a more expansive love to mankind that knows no barriers-religious, cultural or governmental."