In 1957, two years after studying at the Art Students League (1952-55), Lee Bontecou (b. 1931) was awarded consecutive Fulbright Fellowships; these grants enabled her to spend two full years studying and working in Rome. In 1959, she received a Louis Comfort Tiffany Award; the following year she received the first of four solo shows at the Leo Castelli Gallery. Bontecou's work was included in the Corcoran Gallery of Art's 28th Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting (1963), and has been featured in many prestigious national and international exhibitions, including surveys at London's Tate Gallery (1964) and The Art Institute of Chicago (1967). Most recently The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago organized a retrospective of Bontecou's work.
Tatayana Grosman invited Bontecou to make lithographs for ULAE after viewing her 1962 Leo Castelli Gallery exhibition, which prominently featured the artist's drawings. Bontecou's first lithograph, aptly-named First Stone (1962), reveals tentative explorations of the same imagery – textured, loosely fragmented gestural shapes encircling a void or hole – that she created in her drawings and sculpture. Her explorations with lithography and etching continued at ULAE until the early 1980s.