Jan 27, 2022 - Sale 2593

Sale 2593 - Lot 242

Price Realized: $ 2,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,500 - $ 3,500

BEN-ZION (1897-1987)

Perfect Leveler.
Oil on canvas. 702x885 mm; 28x34 1/2 inches. Signed in oil, lower right recto. 1947.

Provenance: Bertha Schaefer Gallery, New York, with the label; private collection, New York.

A very similar painting, Perpetual Destroyer, (now in the collection of the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington), was among four Ben-Zion works included in a 1946-48 State Department sponsored project of cultural diplomacy intended to demonstrate to the world America's artistic coming of age. These paintings are discussed and illustrated in a wonderful book, Art Interrupted: Advancing American Art and the Politics of Cultural Diplomacy, (2012) pp. 64-68. The editors write: In 'Perpetual Destroyer,' a tank or bulldozer like apparatus moves on relentless treads over blood-red and blackened barren earth. The detritus accumulated on the machine's path of obliteration has been transformed into added armaments that facilitate its ceaseless path of ruination under a brilliant blue sky. The viewer witnesses powers unleashed and seemingly beyond all control. This description could easily apply to Perfect Leveler.