Lee Bontecou Untitled 1958

  • Not on view

While on a Fulbright fellowship in Rome in the late 1950s, Bontecou accidentally made what became one of the most crucial discoveries of her career: she adjusted the oxygen levels in the blowtorch she used to weld sculptures, and soot poured out. She began to draw with the torch, moving it across paper and canvas. "I finally got the black I wanted and a kind of landscape or 'worldscape,'" she said. While her works rarely suggest concrete locations, the sense of landscape is palpable here in the low-slung pale-gray line that sweeps across the velvety black page, suggesting a dimly lit horizon.

Gallery label from Lee Bontecou: All Freedom in Every Sense, April 21–August 30, 2010 .
Soot on paper
27 1/2 x 39 7/8" (69.9 x 101.3 cm)
Promised gift of Kathy and Richard S. Fuld Jr.
Object number
© 2020 Lee Bontecou
Drawings and Prints

Installation views

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at digital@moma.org.


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.