Greenwich Village Bar. The Pickup
Watercolor painting hand signed by Peter Emanuel Goldman.
Legendary French American Film Auteur, These are recently produced watercolor paintings based on musings and recollections of a life spent in art and film. Scenes of Left bank Paris in the 1950's, Greenwich Village New York in the 1960's with the occasional Judaica work. They are sketch works reminiscent of Philip Guston and the Leon Golub and the Neo Expressionist artists.
Peter Goldman was a celebrated filmmaker of the underground cinema and the only American link to the French New Wave during the sixties. At that time, he also started an intermittent career as a journalist. Later, in the seventies, he composed and recorded music. He spent the next fifteen years as a writer and consultant on foreign affairs. Recently, he became a novelist. in 1962, he began to practice straight photography while he was filming Echoes of Silence, his first movie. Simultaneously, he used his still camera to register the kind of life he shared with his friends and his perceptions of New York City, mainly of his neighborhood, Greenwich Village. In 1966, he settled in Paris temporarily. For almost fifty years, his negatives were forgotten and kept in storage in the US and Paris. Several months ago they reappeared in a box sent to him from Paris.
Goldman’s small and compact vintage negative archive introduces an unknown chapter in the history of American photography from the early to the middle sixties and immediately beyond. Sex, love, desire, passion, drugs, nightlife, sadness, despair, loneliness have its place in this archive. A sensibility that approximates Goldman's would not appear in photography until the following decade with Nan Goldin, the photographer of “sexual dependency.”
Goldman's straight photography
"My straight photos, which miraculously reappeared after 50 years in a box sent from Paris, resemble my films to some extent and differ in others. The photos were mostly made at the time I was shooting Echoes and in the year following, before making Pestilent City, The Sensualists, and Wheel of Ashes in Paris. I would stage some scenes almost like I was directing a film—faces and shots of longing and loneliness, while many other photos were taken of my wives, children and girlfriends, as well as streets of the Village, especially at night. The city is often in the foreground instead of the background, as in the films. The camera is capturing life on the streets."
PETER EMANUEL GOLDMAN
Singled out by Jean-Luc Godard in Cahiers du Cinema in 1967 as a great new American filmmaker an dcalled “a myth . . .an apostle of the unique” by the newspaper Liberation , Peter Goldman once seemed likely to be the next giant of American Cinema.
Had he chosen to go to Hollywood after the great critical success of his first feature, Echoes of silence, his name might well be as recognized today as such of his New York contemporaries as Martin Scorsese and woody Allen. But Peter Goldman went in the opposite direction—to Paris instead of Hollywood—and, in his third feature, Wheel of Ashes, forged a c critical link between new American cinema and the French New Wave.
Goldman’s first feature film, Echoes of Silence, was so stylistically and thematically different that it astounded critics on both sides of the Atlantic. Writer Susan Sontag called Goldman “the most exciting filmmaker in recent years,” and Henri Chapier , writing in Combat, called Echoes of Silence, “ the masterpiece of all , ’new’ and ‘young’ films . . it is the most poignant film ever made about the profound despair of the young.” Newsweek called Echoes of Silence “the quintessence of the avant-garde spirit.”
containing one of the truest subtlest and moving sequences ever filmed.” Roger Ebert wrote: It is interesting, sincere and worthy of serious attention. . there is not a false moment in it.” In 2014, with release of Echoes on video, film critic Philippe Azoury wrote in Les Inrocks, “ Echoes of silence was our favorite film . . Those who had the opportunity to see it formed a secret society,” and Cahiers du Cinema called Echoes of Silence and Wheel of Ashes, Beautiful films . . beautiful Jewels .
brought out from the forgotten.” An on-line critic called Goldman “the forgotten genius of American Cinema.” In his life, Peter Goldman was also a journalist, a writer of fiction and non-fiction, and advisor to prime ministers, senators and congressmen, a baseball player, a musician and a first-class still photographer. Recently thousands of Goldman’s long-forgotten, haunting and powerful still photographs have been rediscovered and are now being made available to the public. He worked in the same period as many celebrated street photographers, Lee Friedlander Eugène Atget, Walker Evans, William Klein, Diane Arbus, Vivian Maier and Robert Frank. His work has been recently rediscovered, although his films have been continuously shown at festivals around thee world.
He was born in New York in 1939, attended Brown University (history major, magna cum laude, phi Beta Kappa), studied a year at the Sorbonne, where he realized he didn’t want to be an academic. Peter took film courses at City college of New York and New York University, made first small films in 8mm and 16mm. In the early 1960’s he discovered that he was very good with a movie camera and made Echoes of Silence, a film about the searching, loneliness, sexuality, despair and oppression of the city, for $1500. The film played at the new York Film Festival and was awarded a special director’s prize at the Pesaro, Italy, Film Festival. In 1965 he made his second feature film, The Sensualists (all copies have unfortunately disappeared) and the 16mm short, Pestilent City, with its powerful and despairing images of the underside of New York, which was shown twice at the new York film Festival.
While making these films in New York, he was acquainted with Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, Susan Sontag, Carly Simon, Gregory Corso, Jean-Luc Godard (whom he met at the New York. Film Festival), Larry Rivers Brian DiPalma and many others. Goldman and Warhol had a semi-serious, semi comic verbal battle in The Village Voice about cinema.
He was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to Paris for film in 1966 (with the help of Jean-Luc Godard) and made a French-language feature film, Wheel of Ashes, starring French actor, Pierre Clementi. Wheel of Ashes was shown at the Venice film Festival in 1968 and at the Cannes film Festival About Wheel of Ashes, Cahiers du Cinema wrote: “None of us who saw this film could avoid being pierced to the heart . . a cinema fundamentally different. Tages Anzeiger (Germany) echoes this: “We are in the presence of an amazing filmmaker who makes films that are without parallel today.” Irish film critic, Fergus Daley, said that Wheel of Ashes was “one of the most beautiful and formally challenging
works in the history of cinema . . a breathtaking experience. Politiken (Denmark) wrote: “A film which continues in one thoughts long after one has seen it. The film is not a mirror image of reality; it is reality itself.” Professor of Cinema and critic Emeric de Lastens wrote after the video release of Wheel of Ashes, that the film is “the missing link between the New York Underground and the Parisian new Wave . . . Goldman crossed the 1960s like a meteor . . There are few bodies of work as living and enlivening as
that of Peter Emanuel Goldman, the eternal youth of cinema.”
“The intensity, the despair, the haunting images of his films are also captured in his still photos,” said art dealer Aryeh Wuensch. A leading curator and advisor the Getty Museum, Jose-Antonio Navaretti, said that Goldman’s black and white photography “was as good as anything that has ever been done . They are museum quality.”
Goldman served as a Middle East consultant for many senators and representatives as well as being invited to meet with President Reagan and his aides. In the 1980’s he became a Torah-observant Jew. He also did short stints as a journalist, working for the Providence Journal, (1962, NBC Radio News (1985) and writing an art column “Shopping Paris Galleries” for the Paris Herald Tribune(1962.) In 1969 he played third base for the national baseball champions of France, Les Paris Pirates.
Mr. Goldman has three children and has said “that my children are the center of my life.
“Many people say that I have lived a fascinating life,” said Goldman,” this may be so, but it has also been a life of a lot of turmoil—both inner and outer--torment and conflict. My films and photos reflect this.” The rediscovery at the age of 75 of these extraordinary photographs from the 1960s is adding a new chapter to an already fascinating life.
1965, Echoes of Silence (Feature), New York. Pestilent City (Short), New York.
The Sensualists (Feature), New York
1968, Wheel of Ashes (Feature), Paris
Awards and Festivals
Special Director’s Award for Echoes of Silence, Pesaro, Italy, Film Festival, 1966.
Film Festivals: Echoes of Silence: New York, London, Pesaro, Torino, Cannes (Quinzaine) Wheel of Ashes: Venice, Hof (Germany) Pestilent City: New York
The Museum of Modern Art, New York (Echoes of Silence, Wheel of Ashes)
Centre Pompidou, Paris (Pestilent City)
Menil Collection, Houston (Wheel of Ashes)
Cinématheque Française, Paris (Echoes of Silence)