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© Lee Bontecou/Courtesy Knoedler & Company, New York
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Category:Sculptures
Date:1950s
Artist
Lee Bontecou
Born 1931
United States Untitled, 1959
Utan titel
Canvas, welded steel, wire
148 x 251 x 80 cm(58 1/4 x 98 13/16 x 31 1/2 in.)
Sculptures
Donation 1973 (New York Collection)
NMSK 2160 This artwork is not on display
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- About the work

Lee Bontecou was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in the USA. As a child, she spent her summers at the family’s house in Nova Scotia on the south-east coast of Canada. The sea and its plants and animals thus became a huge source of inspiration when she later chose to be an artist focusing on drawing and sculpting.

 

Copper, iron, epoxy, fossils and bones, canvas, military equipment and found objects are the main materials used in her sculptures. She quickly learned to weld in order to reuse old steel frames to create the three-dimensional canvas sculptures for which she is best known – and of which Untitled is an example. The canvas is from old mail sacks or military stock that was sold off cheaply in New York’s thrift shops after the war. Her works can be described as a mixture of natural materials and mechanics; organic yet abstract. Sometimes, they are non-figurative, at others they resemble machines, plants or aquatic creatures such as fish or barnacles. When Lee Bontecou began making wall-hung sculptures, she was challenging contemporary conventions both in her choice of materials and presentation.

 

Bontecou attracted huge attention early in her career, and had her first solo show at the Leo Castelly gallery in New York in 1960. She was one of the few women artists featured in both the São Paulo Biennale in 1961, and Documenta in Kassel in 1964. Lee Bontecou withdrew from the art scene in the mid-1970s, and did not show her works for many years. In the mid-1990s, she was rediscovered by a new generation of artists and again attracted attention for her personal style. In 2003 and 2004, she had major solo shows at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.


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