Over the course of her 55 year career, Chicago born artist Caroline Lee established herself as a leading figure metal sculpture. She was one of the few women in the world to produce monumental public sculptures, the only one to work in stainless steel.
Upon graduating from The University of Chicago (Lifetime Achievement Award in 1981), Caroline Lee received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute and moved to Paris, France in 1958 as a Fulbright Grant recipient. Devoted to her craft in all and every form, Caroline Lee made many public commissions chiefly in France and in the USA, fountains, signals, figures floating above the common herd, and symbolic objects like the seminal Hommage à la Résistance in Montreuil, near Paris. Her monumental steel sculptures can be found all over France, and her work is represented in public and private collections in France, Europe and the United States.
“Personally, I’ve always been fascinated by movements to free oneself, the will to go beyond the confines, the restrictions, be they mental or physical…That’s why I’ve never felt the need to either tone down or emphasise my masculine or feminine sides because to me, an artist is intrinsically hermaphroditic.”
Her work is always going forward, upwards, optimistically, soaring above common life. As such, freedom is an integral part of her work, her very own vernacular whether fashioned in abstract or almost figurative forms. There is always a mixture of poetry and life affirming force that belies the seeming aggression inherent in her choice of material.
“Steel pushes you in a certain direction. It is used for utilitarian objects. To be a sculptor is to engage with the life of your own times, and so it is industrial “bodies” I wanted to make.