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Catlett, Elizabeth (b. 1915)

Catlett, Elizabeth (b. 1915)

African-American sculptor and printmaker. Born in Washington, DC, April 15, 1915; Howard University, BA, 1936; University of Iowa, MFA in sculpture, 1940; m. Charles White (artist), 1941 (div.); m. Francisco Mora (Mexican artist), 1947; children: 3.

Married and moved to NY, where she flourished in the Harlem Renaissance; continued studies in several mediums, working with French sculptor Ossip Zadkine, who would profoundly influence her work, and learning lithography at Art Students League; exhibited around the country, including at Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and Baltimore Museum of Art; after receiving a Rosenwald fellowship (1946), moved with husband to Mexico, where she worked with Taller de Grafica Popular (TGP), a collaborative of printmakers; executed a series of prints and paintings on theme The Negro Woman; earned 1st solo exhibition, at Barnett-Aden Gallery, Washington, DC (1948); became citizen of Mexico; was 1st woman professor of sculpture at Mexico's national university (1959); had 17 one-woman shows, most of them in US (1970s); other works include Black Woman Speaks, Homage to My Young Black Sisters, Olmec Bather, Black Unity, Target Practice, Homage to the Panthers, Malcolm Speaks for Us, Torres Bodet and Vasconcelos; commissioned to create a bust of Phillis Wheatley (1973); created a 10-foot bronze sculpture of Louis Armstrong for City Park of New Orleans (1975).

See also Samella Lewis, The Art of Elizabeth Catlett (Hancraft, 1984); and Women in World History.

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