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Tenth Stone

A work made of lithograph from one stone in metallic silver ink on white wove paper.

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  • A work made of lithograph from one stone in metallic silver ink on white wove paper.




Lee Bontecou (American, 1931-2022)
printed by Fred Genis
published by Universal Limited Art Editions (American, founded 1955)

About this artwork

Between 1967 and 1969, Bontecou created a group of large flower sculptures made of vacuum-formed plastic whose centers trail long tendrils and which resemble gas masks. She envisioned these to be the products of a post-apocalyptic world, commenting that “I was doing a lot of drawings of flowers prior to [the sculptures]. And I thought, ‘this is all we’re going to have left. Make a few plastic flowers in the world and that will be it. Give them a few [gas] masks, let them survive.’”

With Tenth Stone, Bontecou experimented with several subtle colors, but settled on a simple black for the final, published print. The flower’s petals and stem are riveted like metal, merging the botanical and the mechanical to create a disturbing hybrid that reflects, among other things, Bontecou’s fears for the environment.


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Prints and Drawings


Lee Bontecou


Tenth Stone


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Lithograph from one stone in metallic silver ink on white wove paper


Image: 95.2 × 65.1 cm (37 1/2 × 25 11/16 in.); Sheet: 105 × 71.2 cm (41 3/8 × 28 1/16 in.)

Credit Line

U.L.A.E. Collection acquired through a challenge grant of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Dittmer; purchased with funds provided by supporters of the Department of Prints and Drawings; Centennial Endowment; Margaret Fisher Endowment Fund

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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