Elizabeth Catlett /   Elizabeth Catlett Mora

United States 1915 - 2012

Sculpture, Expressionism, Painting

Elizabeth Catlett
Elizabeth Catlett Mora
United States
December 20, 2014
Alias of Jasmina Sevic, a researcher and author for Widewalls. She graduated from the Faculty of Political Science (Department for Journalism) in Belgrade in 2013.

Elizabeth Catlett was a sculptor, painter, and printmaker well-known for producing politically charged black expressionistic sculptures and prints in the 1960s and the 1970s.

Catlett was born on April 15, 1915 in Washington, DC, and attended Dunbar High School. She received a scholarship to study at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, PA, but was rejected by the institution because of her race. In 1935, Catlett earned a BS and graduated cum laude from Howard University School of Art, in Washington, DC. She went on to graduate with an MFA from the University of Iowa in 1940, before moving on to study ceramics at the Art Institute of Chicago, IL. In 1942, she studied lithography at the Art Students League in New York City, and then, in 1943, she joined Ossip Zadkine to study sculpting. In most of her works, the artist combined fundamental elements of African traditions with the traditions of African Americans and western Mexico.

Catlett was originally enrolled to study design, printmaking, and drawing, but later changed her major to painting, due to the influence of James A. Porter, and because Howard University did not have a sculpting department at the time. She taught for two years in North Carolina, but quit due to low salaries paid to black teachers. She was the first student to graduate with an MFA at the University of Iowa, and was greatly influenced by Grant Wood, who produced great paintings of the American landscape. She sculpted Mother and Childin 1939, and a year later it won her first prize at the American Negro Exposition in Chicago, IL.

Catlett was involved in a number of exhibitions, including Prints & Drawings, at Stragow Gallery, New York, 1998, and Wood Sculpture, at June Kelly Gallery, New York, 2002. Catlett received a number of awards, such as the Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award by the International Sculpture Center, in 2003. She is part of many collections around the world, including those of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA, the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico, and the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

On April 2, 2012, Catlett passed away in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2015Interventions in Printmaking: Three Generations of African-American WomenAllentown Art Museum, Allentown, PAGroup
2014Infinite Mirror: Images Of American IdentityRichard E. Peeler Art Center - DePauw University, Greencastle, INGroup
2014Spiritual Strivings: A Celebration of African American Works on PaperPennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PAGroup
2014ConvergenceBates College Museum of Arts, Lewiston, MEGroup
2014Taller De Gráfica Popular MexicanoMuseo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende, SantiagoGroup
2014Rising Up uprisingMichael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2013I AM: Prints by Elizabeth CatlettCedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, IASolo
2013Passion and Pursuit in American Art James Graham & Sons, New York City, NYGroup
2013Masterworks: American & EuropeanJames Graham & Sons, New York City, NYGroup
2013Calaveras Mexicanas: The Art and Influence of José Guadalupe PosadaMFAH - Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston, TXGroup
2013Mexico: Art for the People, Works on Paper from the Museum CollectionTel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel AvivGroup
2013A Century of American Art: Paintings and Sculpture, 1890-1990James Graham & Sons, New York City, NYGroup
2013Infinite Mirror: Images of American IdentityJames A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PAGroup
2013ReflectionsKalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, MIGroup
2012The Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection of African American ArtWichita Art Museum WAM, Wichita, KSSolo
2012Of The PeopleContemporary Wing, Washington, DCGroup
201250 Years of CollectingLouisiana Art & Science Museum, Baton Rouge, LAGroup
2012Looking AheadRosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum, Cape Girardeau, MOGroup
2012Infinite Mirror: Images of American IdentityFlorida Gulf Coast University Art Gallery, Fort Myers, FLGroup
2012Pose re-pose - Figurative Works Then And NowSCAD Museum of Art , Savannah, GAGroup
2012The Soul of a City: Memphis Collects African American ArtBrooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TNGroup
2012Infinite Mirror: Images of American IdentityFort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, INGroup
2012Making History: 20th Century African ArtVirginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VAGroup
2012The Walter O. Evans Collection of African American ArtMississippi Museum of Art MMA,Jackson, MSGroup
2011Looking Ahead: Portraits from the Mott-Warsh CollectionOhr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, Biloxi, MSGroup
201112th International İstanbul BiennialInternational Istanbul Biennial, IstanbulGroup
2011National Academicians: Then and NowNational Academy Museum, New York City, NYGroup
2011The Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection of African American Art: Works on PaperSheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, NEGroup
2011In Print: Linoleum Prints by Elizabeth Catlett, Juan Fuentes, and Hale WoodruffFort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, INGroup
2011Stargazers: Elizabeth Catlett in Conversation with 21 Contemporary ArtistsBronx Museum of the Arts (BxMA), New York City, NYGroup
2011Selected Works in Honor of African American History MonthSpencer Museum of Art,Lawrence, KSGroup
2011Color Between The Lines Celebrating The Techniques Of PrintmakingTobey C. Moss Gallery,Los Angeles, CAGroup
2010100 Years of African-American Art: The Arthur Primas CollectionThe Dayton Art Institute,Dayton, OHGroup
2010Inquiring Eyes: Greensboro Collects Art Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NCGroup
2010Huckleberry FinnCCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, CAGroup
2010Beyond the Blues: Reflections of African America in the Fine Arts Collection of the Amistad Research CenterNew Orleans Museum of Art NOMA, New Orleans, LAGroup
2010Southern Journeys: African-American Artists of the SouthAppleton Museum of Art, Ocala, FLGroup
2010Limners to Facebook: Portraiture from the 19th to the 21st CenturyAsheville Art Museum,Asheville, NCGroup
2010A Force for Change: African American Art and the Julius Rosenwald FundMontclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJGroup
2010The Chemistry of Color: Contemporary African-American ArtistsColumbia Museum of Art,Columbia, SCGroup
2010Successions: Prints by African American Artists from the Jean and Robert Steele CollectionMobile Museum of Art, Mobile, ALGroup
2009Blanche Grambs & Her Fellow ArtistsSusan Teller Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2009Ruth Asawa and Artes LatinosTobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2009The Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection of African-American Art: Works on PaperAmon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TXGroup
2009A Force for Change: African American Art and the Julius Rosenwald FundSpertus Museum,Chicago, ILGroup
2009ConnectionsJenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2009Selections From The Barnett-aden CollectionHemphill Fine Arts, Washington, DCGroup
2009Showcase & Tell: Treasures From the Spelman College Permanent CollectionSpelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, GAGroup
2008Gouge: The Modern Woodcut 1870 to NowHammer Museum, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2008Collecting for Chicago: Prints, Drawings, and PatronageThe Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, ILGroup
2008Strength In NumbersSragow Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2008In the Hands of African American Collectors: The Personal Treasures of Bernard and Shirley KinseyNorton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FLGroup
2008African American Art: 200 YearsMichael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2007I Am: Prints by Elizabeth CatlettUniversity of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, IASolo
2007Speaking Out - The Art of Elizabeth CatlettToledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OHSolo
2007Labor, Love, LiveThe Studio Museum in Harlem, New York City, NYGroup
2007The Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection of African American Art: Works on Paper and Selections from the AT&T CollectionThe College of Wooster Art Museum, Wooster, OHGroup
2007Works on PaperThe College of Wooster Art Museum, Wooster, OHGroup
2007Black Panther Rank and FileSoutheastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), Winston-Salem, NCGroup
2007This Place is Ours! Recent Acquisitions at the AcademyPennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PAGroup
2007Mexico and Modern Printmaking: A Revolution in the Graphic Arts, 1920–1950Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZGroup
2007Mexico and Modern Printmaking: A Revolution in the Graphic Arts, 1920-1950Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TNGroup
2006For My People: The Art of Elizabeth CatlettThe Harold B. Lemmerman Gallery at New Jersey City University, Jersey City, NJSolo
2006Women Only! In Their StudiosPolk Museum of Art, Lakeland, FLGroup
2006African America Art from the Walter O. Evans CollectionThe Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MIGroup
2006Celebration and Vision - The Hewitt Collection of African-American ArtTaubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, WVGroup
2006Something All Our Own: The Grant Hill Collection of African American ArtNasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NCGroup
2006African American Artists from the CollectionMontclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJGroup
2006New Prints 2006 WinterInternational Print Center New York, New York City, NYGroup
2005Elizabeth CatlettThe Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, ILSolo
2005Back to BlackThe New Art Gallery Walsall, Walsall, West MidlandsGroup
2005Paths to the Press: Printmaking and American Women Artists, 1910-1960Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art, Evanston, ILGroup
2005African American Printmakers: The Legacy Continues - AljiraCenter for Contemporary Art,Newark, NJGroup
2004For Women: Icons of Struggle, Strength, and DignityThe Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CTSolo
2004Something All Our Own: The Grant Hill Collection of African American ArtDallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TXGroup
2003Challenge of the Modern: African American Artists 1925-1945The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York City, NYGroup
2002Elizabeth Catlett - Prints and SculpturesThe Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OHSolo
2002Looking Forward, Looking BlackThe Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, OHGroup
2002The Belles of Amherst - Contemporary Women ArtistsUniversity Museum of Contemporary Art - UMass Amherst, Amherst, MAGroup
2002The Belles of Amherst: Contemporary Women Artists in the Collections of the Mead Art Museum and University GalleryMead Art Museum, Amherst, MAGroup
2001Narratives of African American Art and identityVirginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VAGroup
2001Rhapsody - Selections from Valley CollectionsASU Art Museum - Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, AZGroup
2001African-American Art: 20th Century Masterworks, VIIIMichael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2000An Exuberant Bounty: Prints and Drawings by African AmericansPhiladelphia Museum of Art,Philadelphia, PAGroup
2000African-American Art: 20th Century Masterworks, VII Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
1999Narratives of African-American Art and Identity - The David C. Driskell CollectionColby College Museum of Art, Waterville, MEGroup
1999Crossing the ThresholdUniversity Art Museum University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, NYGroup
1999African-American Art: 20th Century Masterworks, VIMichael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
1998Elizabeth Catlett Sculpture: A Five-Year RetrospectiveBlaffer Art Museum - at the University of Houston, Houston, TXSolo
1997Civil Progress: Life in Black AmericaGreg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, WAGroup
1995African-American Art: 20th Century Masterworks, IIMichael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
1993The Black Woman in America: Prints by Elizabeth CatlettKrannert Art Museum, Champaign, ILSolo
1993African-American Art: 20th Century MasterworksMichael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
1992The Black Woman: Elizabeth CatlettUtah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, UTSolo
1982Forever Free: Art By African-American Women, 1862-1980Indianapolis Museum of Art - IMA, Indianapolis, INGroup
1977Two Centuries of Black American Art Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York City, NYGroup
1977Two Centuries of Black American ArtDallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TXGroup
1977Two Centuries of Black American ArtThe High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GAGroup
1976Two Centuries of Black American ArtLos Angeles County Museum of Art - LACMA, Los Angeles, CAGroup
1950Contemporary Art from Houston CollectionsContemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TXGroup