The Cosmos of Lee Bontecou

Detail from an untitled work, 1980-98 | Lee Bontecou, from MoMA’s permanent collection | The Museum of Modern Art
Lee Bontecou

American abstract sculptor and printmaker Lee Bontecou was born on this day January 15, 1931 in Providence, Rhode Island. Bontecou was raised in New York and Nova Scotia, and spent much of her youth studying art. From 1952-1955, she studied at the Art Students League in New York with sculptor William Zorach, Morris Kantor, and Robert Brackman. In 1954 she spent a summer at the Skowhegan School in Skowhegan, Maine. She won a Fulbright Scholarship in Rome where she lived from 1956–1957.

Sculpting cosmic portals, geometric webs, and drawings in inky soot, her unique style was consistent, which led to her wide recognition as an artist and a pioneer of the New York art scene.

Bontecou is well-known for her canvas and iron sculptures made in the late 1950’s and 1960’s, which were made to hang on walls like paintings. In 1960 Bontecou was named Mademoiselle Woman of the Year.

Today, Lee Bontecou lives and works in Orbisonia, Pennsylvania.

Untitled, (1967). Vacuum-formed plastic, plastic tubing, and frosted acrylic. | Lee Bontecou
Untitled (1966) | Graphite and soot on paper | Lee Bontecou | Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence Albert Pilavin Memorial. Collection of Twentieth-Century American Art.

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