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The End of Don Quixote

From the time of his first solo exhibition in New York City in the mid-1930s to the end of his life, Ben-Zion produced a body of work, including paintings, prints, and sculpture, that relied on metaphorical and biblical representations executed in a highly expressionistic style. Utilizing rich color, painterly surfaces, and exaggeration or distortion to delineate and describe his subjects, Ben-Zion garnered much critical mention in his early career, when he exhibited as a member of the group of Expressionist painters known as The Ten.

In The End of Don Quixote, Ben-Zion reflects on the idealist dreamer who lost his futile battle with the windmills. Here, the central figure appears to have been crucified for his foolhardy efforts, helplessly enmeshed in the carnage of the broken sails of the mechanism. The painting, an interesting choice to have been selected to travel to South America, perhaps warns those who hold romantic rather than realistic notions of the world. The artist seems to say that following such a course will not only be one’s own undoing, but also will wreak havoc on our universal existence.

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