Chaim Goldberg

Chaim Goldberg, circa 2000.

Chaim Goldberg (March 20, 1917 – June 26, 2004) was a Jewish artist, painter, sculptor, and engraver. He is best known for being a chronicler of Jewish life in the small Polish village (or Shtetl) where he was born, Kazimierz Dolny in eastern Poland; and as a painter of Holocaust era art.


Early life

Chaim Goldberg grew up in Kazimierz-Dolny. His drawings were discovered on the walls of his father's shoemaker workshop 1931 by Saul Silberstein, a student of Sigmund Freud who was doing post doctorate work on his book, Jewish Village Mannerisms. Chaim and Silberstein left for Kraków with a large collection of the art in portfolios. Silberstein contacted influential individuals to provide support to the fourteen-year-old artist. Wealthy patrons, such as a judge and a newspaper publisher, sponsored his education at the "Józef Mehoffer School for Fine Arts", Kraków, from which he graduated in 1935, and later at the "Academy of Fine Arts" in Warsaw, where he was the youngest student (at 17) to enter the school, from which he graduated in 1938. World War II interrupted his artistic development, and he became a refugee in Siberia. He went to École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France on a fellowship from the Polish Government from 1947–1949, and then in 1955, he and his wife Rachel with their two sons, Victor and Shalom were allowed to leave Communist Poland, despite protest from the Ministry of Culture, and emigrated to Israel.

Emigration to the United States

Goldberg creating a hand-engraved image on a copper plate.

In 1967, Goldberg arrived in the United States, with a two-year business visa on an exhibition-tour and continued to paint, and create line engravings of his village characters, as well as sculpt. His and subject matter widened while living in New York which became one of his "themes." He and his family decided to become citizens of the United States in 1973.

I. B. Singer wrote in an introduction to an exhibit catalog "Chaim Goldberg came from the shtetl and remembers its every detail. He is never abstract but is true to the objects and their divine order. His work is enriching Jewish art and the image of our tradition."


Goldberg's "Culture Shock" series and other series based on real life and politics of the period as were the works of the series the "Mad Drivers."

Some of his work dealt with his own dream sequences, such as the "Violin Thief Sequence" and the "Bird Dream Sequence."

In 1974, Chaim attended a performance of the "Emmett Kelly, Jr. Circus" and began a series of drawings and other works on paper inspired by the "Circus theme." Then dance took center stage as his main subject. He also carved in wood. His body of work on the dance theme included paintings, watercolors, and sculpture carved in wood or made of aggregate concrete.

Goldberg continued line engraving and created a suite of engravings titled, "Spring".

Holocaust themes

"Babi-Yar". Oil on canvas, collection of the Spertus Museum, Chicago, IL

In 1944 while in exile in Russia, Goldberg began making an effort to document what he heard. He returned to Poland with his wife and son, Victor, and began to create over 150 works of art dealing with the Holocaust, many of which are in the permanent collection of several museums, namely the Spertus Museum in Chicago.

Return to Kazimierz-Dolny

"A Street View In The Warsaw Ghetto" A pen and ink drawing, 1952.

In 1987, while working on the Holocaust theme, Goldberg returned to Kazimierz-Dolny. He made his final return to the theme for the third time.

In 1997, at the age of 80 he was diagnosed with a disabling illness. He died in 2004 in Boca Raton, Florida.


1931 - "Polish Landscapes," Group Show, Kazimierz-Dolny, Poland
1934 - Studio Show, Kazmierz-Dolny, Poland
1936 - National Group Show, Warsaw, Poland
1937 - National Group Show, Warsaw, Poland

(the artist, his future wife and her family were refugees in Siberia)

1946 - "Poland After World War II" solo show, Shtczechin, Poland
1947 - National Group Show, Warsaw, Poland
1949 - National Group Show, Warsaw, Poland
1950 - National Group Show, Warsaw, Poland
1951 - National Group Show, Warsaw, Poland
1952 - National Group Show, Warsaw, Poland
1965 - One Man Show, Pioneer House, Givataiim, Israel
1966 - Retrospective Show, Museum Yad Labanim, Petach Tikvah, Israel (attended by Mrs. Golda Meir - Prime Minister; and Kadish Luz - Speaker of the House (Knesset).
1967 - One Man Show, LYS Gallery, New York
1968 - One Man Show, Theodore Hertzel Institute, New York, NY
1968 - One Man Show, Mixed Media Art Center, Syracuse, NY
1969 - One Man Show, Paul Kessler Art Gallery, Provincetown, MA
1970 - One Man Show, Paul Kessler Art Gallery, Provincetown, MA
1971 - Large Retrospective Exhibit at the DeAndries Gallery, St' John's University, NY
1972 - One Man Show, Mixed Media, Lincoln Mall Art Center, Miami, FL
1972 - Group Show, Mixed Media, American Congress, Washington, DC
1973 - One Man Show, "Chaim Goldberg's Shtetl" (drawings, watercolors, sculptures, oil paintings and line engravings) Smithsonian Institution, Hall of Graphic Arts, Washington, DC.
1973 - Group Exhibit, "Jewish Motifs and Culture of the 20th Century," Klingspore Museum, Offenbach, Germany
1974 - One Man Show, The Avila Art Center, Jewish Synagogue, Caracas, Venezuela
1977 - Group Show with the Texas Society of Sculptors, Houston Public Library, Main Branch, Houston, TX
1979 - One Man Show, Museum of Printing History, Houston, TX
1982 - Group Exhibit, "Art of the Twentieth Century - A Revelation," Congregation Beth Israel, Houston, TX
1985 - Group Exhibit, "Twenty-Sixth Invitational," Longview Museum of Art, Longview, TX
1994 - Group Exhibit, "Shtetl Life," the Nathan and Faye Hurvitz Collection, the Judah Magnes Museum, Berkley, CA (Goldberg's Marketplace, hand-colored litho was on the cover of the exhibit catalog.
1997 - One Man Exhibit, "Chaim Goldberg at 80," Nathan B. Rosen Museum, Adolph Rose Levis JCC, Boca Raton, FL
1997 - One Man Exhibit, "Remembering the Shtetl - 75 Years of the Art of Chaim Goldberg," Texas Union Art gallery, UT Austin, TX.
2002 - One Man Exhibit, "Oil Paintings of the Shtetl," Shir Art Gallery, Southfield, MI
2003 - One Man Exhibit, "Landscapes and Observations," Shir Art Gallery, Southfield, MI
2004 - One Man Exhibit, "Engravings and Lithos," Shir Art Gallery, Southfield, MI


Metropolitan Museum of Art, 20th Century Permanent Art Collection, New York, NY
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
President's House, Jerusalem, Israel
Museum Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel
City of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
Museum Yad Labanim, Petach Tikvah, Israel
Museum Petit Palais, Geneva, Switzerland
National Museum, Warsaw, Poland
Jewish Museum, Warsaw, Poland
Klingspore Museum, Offenbach, Germany
National Gallery of Art, Lessing Rosenwald Collection, Washington, DC
National Collection of Art, Washington, DC
Smithsonian Institution, Hall of Graphic Arts, Washington, DC
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Lowe Museum University, Miami, FL
Museum of Fine Art, Boston, MA
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT
Judaica Museum, Phoenix, AZ
Public Library Art Collection, San Francisco, CA
New York Public Library, New York, NY
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT
Springfield Museum of Art, Springfield, MA
Houston Museum of Fine Art, Houston, TX
Houston Public Library, Houston, TX
Spertus Jewish Museum, Chicago, IL
Judah L. Magnes Museum, Berkley, CA
Skirball Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Yeshiva University, New York, NY
YIVO, New York, NY


Aloisio, Julie, "Chaim Goldberg's Art Celebrates Life," (The Villager, 1988, Miami, FL)
Alyagon, Ofra, "Chaim Goldberg The Artist," (Life and Problems, July 1966, Paris, France
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Avidar, Tamar, "Chaim Goldberg Does Not Forget," (Davar Hashavua, 1965, Tel Aviv, Israel
Chir, Myriam, "Chaim Goldberg - Painter and Sculptor," (L'information D'Israel, Feb. 1965, Tel Aviv, Israel
Diamonstein, Barbara, "Chaim Goldberg - From Exile to Genius," Art & Antiques Magazine, June, 2002, USA
Dolbin, B.F., "Chaim Goldberg - The Sholom Aleichem of the Arts," Autlan, July, 1967, New York, NY
Dluznowski-Dunow, M., "Important Exhibit of Chaim Goldberg," (The Forward, 1967, New York, NY
Dluznowski-Dunow, M., "The Painter and Sculptor Chaim Goldberg," (Culture and Life, Polish language publication, 1967, New York, NY).
Evremond-Saint, "Chaim Goldberg," (Le Courier des Arts, June 29, 1967, New York, NY)
Frank, M., "Chaim Goldberg in the Smithsonian National Museum," (The Forward, April, 1973, New York, NY)
Friedman, Sousanna, "A Visit with Chaim Goldberg," (The Bulletin - American Jewish Libraries, 1978)
Kantz, Shimon, "The Artist Chaim Goldberg," (Yiddishe Shriftin, Oct., 1954, Warsaw, Poland)
Hall, D., "Goldberg at the Caravan," (Park East Nov. 1st, 1973, New York, NY)
Kiel, C., "The Dynamic Jewish Artist Chaim Goldberg," (The Forward, 1987, New York, NY)
Luden, Itzchak, "Chaim Goldberg in the Smithsonian National Museum," (The Forward, April 1973, New York, NY)
Massney, P., "Proud Moment," (The Long Island Press, March 31, 1971, NY)
Paris, J., "Chaim Goldberg to Exhibit Art," (The Long Island Press, March 28, 1971, NY)
Paris, J., "Exhibit Aides Council Reach a Goal," (The Long Island Press, April 5, 1971, NY)
Robak, Kazimierz, "I Left My Heart There," (Gazeta Antykwaryczna, Part 1 of 3, October 2000, Kraków, Poland)
Robak, Kazimierz, "I Left My Heart There," (Gazeta Antykwaryczna, Part 2 of 3, November 2000, Kraków, Poland)
Robak, Kazimierz, "I Left My Heart There," (Gazeta Antykwaryczna, Part 3 of 3, December 2000, Kraków, Poland)
Robak, Kazimierz, "Kuzmir in Chaim Goldberg’s painting," (Spotkania z Zabytkami, Vol. 3 (253), March 2008. 12-15. Warsaw, Poland)
Rogers, M., "Goldberg Pursues New Directions," (Houston Chronicle, Oct. 12th, 1977, Houston, TX)
Samuels, J., "An Artist and His Wife," (Jewish Herald-Voice, March, 1978, Houston, TX)
Samsot-Hawk, Kathleen, "Chaim Goldberg," (Art Voices, November/December 1977)
Scott, Paul, "Chaim Goldberg: An Artist Reborn," (Southwest Art Magazine, July/August 1975, Houston, TX)
Shirey, david, "Chaim Goldberg's Art Shown in Queens," (New York Times, March, 19th 1971, NY)
Shmulevitz, I., "The Exhibit of the Artist Chaim Goldberg," (The Forward, March 13, 1971, NY)
Shneiderman, Emil, "The Art of Chaim Goldberg," (The Day Journal, July 2, 1967, New York, NY)
Shneiderman, Emil, "Chaim Goldberg's Art on Exhibit in Queens," (The Day Journal, March 14, 1971, New York, NY)
Staingart, T., "An Exhibition of Paintings by Chaim Goldberg," (The Forward, 1967, New York, NY)
Taube, H., "The Lost World Recaptured in Art," (The Baltimore Jewish Times, April 1973, Baltimore, MD)
Tennenbaum, Shea, "Chaim Goldberg, The Artist From Kazimierz-Dolny," (The Voice, October 10, 1967, New York, NY)
Tennenbaum, Shea, "Chaim Goldberg's Jews Live Forever," (The Voice, October 1967, Paris, France)
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The Forward, "Leivik House in Tel Aviv Receives Gift from Acknowledged Artist Chaim Goldberg," (The Forward, April 12, 1970, New York, NY)
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The Houston Chronicle, "Central Library to Unveil A New Goldberg Sculpture," (October 31, 1980, Houston, TX)
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Zonshain, Jacob, "The Prolific Artist," (Folkshtime, November 15, 1949, Warsaw Poland)

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