A factory worker's art



Work by ABRAHAM ISAAC GOLDBERG, at the Chandler Gallery,  Cambridge, Mass., in his show "From My Father's Hand: The Art of Abraham Isaac Goldberg,'' through Sept. 12.

Mr, Goldberg was a factory worker  and immigrant from Lithuania (in 1929) who managed to create hundreds of sketches, drawings and paintings.  He has a mordant view of capitalism.

The gallery's notes say:

''Many of Goldberg’s sketches reflect his perspective on social and political events during the Great Depression and World War II. {His son} Haim Goldberg loves the drawings he describes as 'the class-conscious, evil capitalist things with a big belly and a fistful of dollars.' One caricature of Stalin and Hitler depicts them as birds with human faces, kissing, each with a blade tucked under his wing while swastikas and hammer-and-sickles light up the sky behind them like fireworks. He also used his drawings to respond to personal crises. In 1950, Goldberg was hospitalized after a heart attack, and he filled a sketchbook with pictures both amusing and disturbing of the doctors and nurses who treated him.''

That Mr. Goldberg arrived from Lithuania in 1929, as the Depression was getting going, could not have helped his view of capitalism. Still, that American had political freedom and capitalism was a major reason he  could come here and be able to make a living.

A (somewhat regulated) capitalism is, as they say, the worst economic system except for all others.

As for the "robbery'' part of the train above, one thinks of Balzac's amusing but extreme line that ''behind every great fortune is a great crime.''