Lee Bontecou attended the Art Students League of New York (1952-55) and studied sculpture under William Zorach. She went to Rome on a Fulbright Scholarship and then received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award in 1959. After early success in the 1950s through the early 1970s, Bontecou turned to teaching at Brooklyn College. She stayed there until 1991. Her work can be described as collage; she uses stretched cloth and welded steel to produce her sculptural forms. Her drawings are typically precise studies for her sculptures. Bontecou focuses on the circle, a pure form, and from there fractures her sculpture or drawing with precision.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/people/18535507/ |title=Lee Bontecou |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=19 February 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>