Upcoming Auctions and Events

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
Lee Bontecou (b. 1931)
Lee Bontecou (b. 1931)
Lee Bontecou (b. 1931)
1 More
Lee Bontecou (b. 1931)
4 More
Fields of Vision: The Private Collection of Artists Wolf Kahn and Emily Mason
Lee Bontecou (b. 1931)

Untitled

Details
Lee Bontecou (b. 1931)
Untitled
signed and dated ‘BONTECOU 1959’ (on the reverse)
welded steel, canvas and wire
6 3/8 x 9 1/8 x 5 in. (16.2 x 23.2 x 12.7 cm.)
Executed in 1959.
Provenance
Acquired directly from the artist by the late owners

Brought to you by

Paige Kestenman
Paige Kestenman Specialist

Lot Essay

In the fall of 1956, Emily Mason set off for Venice to attend the Accademia delle Belle Arti on a Fulbright scholarship. Among her fellow scholars was Lee Bontecou, with whom Mason shared a room during their sail across the Atlantic. The two became close friends, and the present work was later acquired by Mason and Wolf Kahn directly from the artist.

This construction of welded steel, canvas and wire dates from 1959, the year Bontecou first explored blackened voids within her sculptures as well as presentation of her three-dimensional works on the wall. Living over a laundry on New York’s Lower East Side, Bontecou collected scraps from discarded laundry bags and conveyer belts, wiring them together to cover her complex steel frames. With its dual projections out into the room from the wall, the present work forms an intriguing hybrid between painting and sculpture. The open holes at the points of highest relief invite the viewer to try to explore inside, while the empty black found within recalls the primordial and otherworldly. As evoked by the present work, Bontecou has said, “I wish my work to represent or to be a part of my time…I want them to be things and facts inside us—from war to the wonders of the space age.” (as quoted in American Visionaries: Selections from the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2001, p. 55)

More from Fields of Vision: The Private Collection of Artists Wolf Kahn and Emily Mason Live Sale

View All
View All