American Sculptor & Printmaker, Lee Bontecou, dies at 91

Lee Bontecou was an American sculptor and printmaker and a pioneer figure in the New York art community. She maintained her work continuously in a recognized manner and earned widespread acclaim in the 1960s. Bontecou constructed abstract sculptures in the 1960s and 1970s and developed vacuum-formed plastic fish, plants, and flower forms in the 1970s.

Popular Wall-Mounted Art Creator Lee Bontecou Passes Away at 91

The American sculptor and printer Lee Bontecou died on November 8, 2022 (at the age of 91) in Florida. The reason for death has yet to be disclosed.

Early Life

Lee Bontecou was born on January 15, 1931(91 years old) in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S. She holds an American nationality and she belongs to the white race. Her Zodiac sign is Capricorn.


since Bontecou’s senior year of high school. For her general education, Bontecou attended Bradford Junior College (now Bradford College) in Haverhill, Massachusetts. From 1952 to 1955, she studied under the sculptor William Zorach at the Art Students League of New York.  In addition, she spent the summer of 1954 studying welding at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. The U.S.-Italy Fulbright Commission awarded her a Fulbright grant so she could study in Rome from 1957 to 1958.  She started teaching at Brooklyn College in 1971.

The sculptures Bontecou made in 1959 and the 1960s, which defied artistic traditions in terms of both materials and presentation by hanging on the wall, are what made her most famous. They are made of welded steel frames wrapped in recycled canvas, as well as other found things, commercial items (such as mail sacks or conveyor belts).

Her finest creations are abstract yet evoke the severity of battle while still being mechanical and organic. They are “fierce,” according to art critic Arthur Danto, and resemble scientist Robert Hooke’s Micrographia from the 17th century. They are “at the confluence of enlarged insects, war masks, and armored chariots,” he said.

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In the 1960s, she displayed work at Leo Castelli’s art gallery with Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Jasper Johns. One of the greatest examples of her work may be seen in the foyer of the Philip Johnson-designed David H. Koch Theater at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. She worked as a professor at Brooklyn College’s art department from the 1970s until 1991.

Personal Life

Lee Bontecou was married to artist William Giles and had a daughter, Valerie.

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