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Lee Bontecou

Lee Bontecou

*  1931 Providence, Rhode Island

Lee Bontecou counts among the most important sculptors and graphic artists of American postwar abstraction.
Lee Bontecou was born at Providence/Rhode Island in 1931. Between 1952 and 1955 Lee Bontecou completed her studies at the New Yorker Art Students League, followed by two study trips to Rome (in 1956 and 1958).
After she had returned to the States in the late 1950s Lee Bontecou made a name for herself as artist and had her first solo show as early as in 1959. Lee Bontecou was the first female artist represented by the renowned New Yorker Leo Castelli Gallery as of 1960.
In those days she predominantly made abstract, powerful, striking and almost aggressive reliefs. Made on the basis of mostly biomorphic, ovoid structures with pointed tips and holes, her gloomy works emanate suggestive powers. Lee Bontecou continued making reliefs in the 1960s, conceived ever larger and with more spatial depth. Machine-like, aggressive structures and the smoothness of natural forms meet in the oeuvre of Lee Bontecou.
Her popularity quickly rose: The young artist was commissioned to make a relief for the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in 1964. In 1966 Lee Bontecou was awarded first prize by the National Institute of Arts and Letters.
In 1967 Lee Bontecou gave birth to a daughter. At this point she was mostly occupied with graphic art and drawings executed in a softer style. Her both dramatic and effective but also gently floating abstract works, usually kept in tonal nuances, have a strong appeal on the observer.
Lee Bontecou, whose art is represented in renowned museums such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, lives and works in New York.