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White Gray Black

Lee Bontecou (American, born 1931)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

American sculptor and printmaker. She studied from 1952 to 1955 at the Art Students League in New York and made two prolonged visits to Rome in 1956 and 1958 on Fulbright scholarships. On her return to the USA she established her reputation with highly personal sculptural reliefs such as Untitled (1099×1309×305 mm, 1960; Buffalo, NY, Albright–Knox A.G.), which consists of a web-like arrangement of strips of canvas attached to a welded steel frame around a central oval void. One such work was included in the influential Art of Assemblage exhibition held at MOMA, New York, in 1961.

In the early 1960s Bontecou’s reliefs became more aggressively three-dimensional, still based largely on the use of ovoid forms, as in Relief (welded iron and linen, 1.84×2.20×8.10 m, 1962; Basle, Kstmus.). Her importance was recognized through the commissioning of a wall relief for the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York in 1964 and by the first prize awarded to her in 1966 by the National Institute of Arts and Letters. In her later work she took up vacuum-formed plastic as a material for large structures, measuring as much as 3 m in extension, which incorporate natural forms such as fish and flowers of her own invention; she also produced plaster reliefs. After her marriage in 1967 and the birth of a daughter she restricted herself largely to drawing and printmaking.

Alberto Cernuschi
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press


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