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Samuel Edward Goldberg (1927-2004)

Samuel Edward Goldberg was an abstract expressionist artist. For more than 30 years, Goldberg created upwards of 1200 works of art on huge canvasses, sometimes as large as 5’ x 8’. Much of his work was done with thick oil paint spread with a palette knife. He signed each piece, “Sami.”

Much of Goldberg’s work expresses themes of family, mortality, death and intimacy. A number of pieces convey feelings of eroticism, most likely portraying images of his female companions. One recurring theme is a fantasy scene in a cavern or valley featuring imagery of figures somberly observing a waterfall. Similar scenes later in his career showcase the same cavern or valley with bright colors but omit the figures.

Following the birth of his grandchildren in the early 2000s, Goldberg created a series of pieces structured around photos, including images of his sister Ruth, her family, and the many friends he accumulated during nights spent in a neighborhood pool hall.

A home improvement salesman by profession, Goldberg had no formal training as an artist and did not hold a brush in his hand until age 42.

After taking an adult class on watercolors at Great Neck North High School in 1969, he began painting alone in his basement and living room. Sometimes unable to sleep, Goldberg would paint late into the night wearing nothing but his boxer shorts.

In 1975, now divorced and the father of two, Goldberg took a painting class at The Art Students League in Manhattan. It was there that he began experimenting with oils and using the palette knife that became his signature style.

“The paintings are not something I plan or plot,” he told Long Island Newsday in 1992. “I allow my subconscious to be free.”

Although none of his work was ever presented in a gallery, he entered a few regional shows near his home in Roslyn, NY. In the early 1990s, at least three banks and one restaurant in Nassau County displayed his work.

A non-smoker all his life, Goldberg died of lung cancer in 2004, eight days after turning 75.

During his lifetime, he never sold a single work of art.

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