Monday, July 30, 2012

Inspiration: Elizabeth Catlett

 Right now I am working on my graduate school thesis: a series of picture books about women artists.
Now I'm researching Elizabeth Catlett...here she is.

 She was a printmaker and sculptor. Born in Washington, DC, April 15, 1919. Her father, a math professor at Tuskeegee Institute, died before she was born. Her mother raised her and two older siblings alone. Elizabeth intially applied to Carnegie Institute of Technology, and was invited to attend a week-long entrance exam. Though her work was praised, she was denied admission due to the color of her skin. She graduated from Howard University, then was the first person to earn an MFA in painting at the University of Iowa in 1940. While at UI, she had to live off campus, 'colored' students weren't allowed to live in the dorms. She studied with Grant Wood. Became politically active, speaking out for students' rights, and those of women.


She moved to Mexico in 1946, and lived there for the rest of her life.  Married first to artist Charles White, then printmaker Francisco Mora, with whom she had three sons. Taught at the School of Fine Arts in Mexico.


 Much of her work is about being African-American,  being a woman, and motherhood.

  She was awarded many prizes and given prestigious commissions.


 "I learned from Diego Rivera that the more you know about anything, the greater an artist you are. So I think the depth of what you know about everything - especially about yourself, where you came from, what you're doing - is much more important than knowing what's going on in the galleries of Paris." - E. Catlett

Elizabeth Catlett died April 2, 2012.

But, tell me, have you heard of her? 

2 comments:

  1. No I haven't but I am glad I do now. Gorgeous prints and I can see why you are interested.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Kristin. I am amazed that she isn't more well known.

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