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Elizabeth Catlett Art

American, 1915-2012

Promoting social change was Elizabeth Catlett’s prime motivation as an artist. The granddaughter of enslaved people, Catlett was born in Washington, D.C., in 1915 and spent her adult life driven to create sculptures, prints and paintings that would reach, celebrate and uplift those who were barely visible in art.

“I have always wanted my art to service Black people — to reflect us, to relate to us, to stimulate us, to make us aware of our potential,” Catlett said of her work in the 1978 book Art: African American. She studied art history, drawing and other disciplines at Howard University, and as an MFA student at the University of Iowa, her mentor, the painter Grant Wood, advised her to “take as her subject what she knew best.” As she later told an interviewer, “The thing that I knew the most about was Black women, because I am one, and I lived with them all my life, so that’s what I started working with.”

The centerpiece of Catlett’s spring 1940 thesis project, Negro Mother and Child — a figure of a Black mother embracing her child, carved from Indiana limestone — was awarded first place for sculpture at the American Negro Exposition in Chicago held that year.

Catlett taught art at Dillard University in New Orleans — where she battled discrimination daily — and met her first husband, artist Charles White, while living in Chicago. She resigned from Dillard in 1942 and moved to New York City. There Catlett befriended painter Jacob Lawrence and studied lithography and other media at the Art Students League. Inspired by her studies with Ossip Zadkine, she began to incorporate abstract forms into her wood and stone sculptures.

In 1946, a grant supported her travel to Mexico to study its murals and graphic art. As Catlett had experienced the barbaric and deeply destructive system of racial segregation that the Jim Crow laws enforced in the United States, Mexico felt like a welcome escape. She would make the country her home and create much of her work there, divorcing White and marrying painter and printmaker Francisco Mora of the Taller de Gráfica Popular (People's Graphic Workshop), or TGP, in 1947. She collaborated with TGP, a graphic arts workshop dedicated to social issues located in Mexico City, on a number of works, including one of her best-known linoleum cut prints, Sharecropper (1952). The heroic depiction of an anonymous farm worker was intended to draw attention to the plight of Black tenant farmers who were ruthlessly exploited by the era’s white landowners.

Another iconic work of Catlett’s is Black Unity (1968), a raised fist sculpted from cedar, smooth and gleaming, with one side taking the form of two faces that resemble carved African masks. In the same year, the raised fist, a powerful symbol of the Civil Rights struggle and emblem of the Black Power movement, had been immortalized by two Black American athletes, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, who raised their black-gloved fists during the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

Catlett was a professor of sculpture at the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s School of Fine Arts in Mexico City from 1958 until 1976, when she retired to focus on making art, exhibiting extensively in the years that followed. In 2003, she completed the Ralph Ellison Memorial in New York’s Riverside Park. That same year she received a lifetime achievement award from the International Sculpture Center. Her work is in the collections of museums worldwide, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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PLAYMATES Signed Lithograph, For My People by Margaret Walker, Black Children
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
PLAYMATES is an original hand drawn limited edition lithograph by the highly acclaimed African-American woman artist Elizabeth Catlett, master printmaker and sculptor best known for ...
Category

1990s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

CANDACE 1992 Tribute To African American Women, Commemorative Art Poster
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
ELIZABETH CATLETT Candace - 10th Anniversary Celebration 1992, A Tribute to African American Women National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Commemorative Art Poster Year printed - 19...
Category

1990s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

NEGRO ES BELLO II Signed Lithograph, Black Is Beautiful, Black Panther Logo
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
NEGRO ES BELLO II is an original limited edition lithograph created using hand printmaking techniques on archival paper, 100% acid free. Pencil signed, titled, dated by Ms. Catlett o...
Category

Early 2000s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

YOUNG DOUGLASS Signed Linocut Black and White Portrait African American History
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Linocut

AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN(Turban), Hand Drawn Lithograph, Black Female Portrait
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
Category

Early 2000s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

Survivor — African American artist
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Myrtle Beach, SC
Elizabeth Catlett, 'Survivor', linocut, 1983, edition 1000. Signed, titled, dated, and numbered '582/1000' in pencil. A fine impression, on heavy, cream wove paper, with full margins...
Category

1980s American Modern Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Linocut

SINGING THEIR SONGS Signed Lithograph, For My People by Margaret Walker
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
Category

1990s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

TO MARRY Signed Lithograph, For My People by Margaret Walker, Bride and Groom
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
Category

1990s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

HOMAGE TO THE PANTHERS Signed Lithograph Portrait Black Power Movement, Activism
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
HOMAGE TO THE PANTHERS is an original limited edition lithograph created using hand printmaking techniques on white archival paper, 100% acid free. Pencil signed, titled, dated by El...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

CHILDREN WITH FLOWERS Signed Lithograph, Color Collage Portrait, Print Fabric
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
Category

1990s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

GLORY Hand Cut Linoleum Print, White Line Portrait, Female Profile, Taupe Brown
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
GLORY is a hand pulled original limited edition relief print by the American and Mexican woman artist, printmaker and sculptor, Elizabeth Catlett. GLORY was created using linocut pri...
Category

Early 2000s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Linocut

THE DOOR OF JUSTICE Signed Lithograph, B+W Portrait, Social Justice Civil Rights
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
THE DOOR OF JUSTICE is an original, hand drawn, limited edition lithograph by the highly acclaimed African-American woman artist Elizabeth Catlett, master printmaker and sculptor bes...
Category

Early 2000s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

KEISHA M. Hand Drawn Lithograph, Young Black Female Portrait, Afro Hairstyle
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
Category

Early 2000s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

VENDEDORA Signed Lithograph, Portrait Seated Young Girl, Mexican Fruit Seller
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
Category

Early 2000s Realist Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

THE DOOR OF JUSTICE Signed Color Lithograph, Lawyer and Clients, Civil Rights
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
THE DOOR OF JUSTICE is an original, hand drawn, limited edition lithograph by the highly acclaimed African-American woman artist Elizabeth Catlett, master printmaker and sculptor bes...
Category

Early 2000s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

NEW GENERATION Signed Lithograph, Collage Portrait, Black Father and Son, Denim
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
Category

1990s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

DANCING II, Signed Lithograph, Black and White Dance Portrait, Black Culture
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
Category

Early 2000s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

Rebozos
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Westport, CT
Lithograph, signed, titled, numbered and dated ’68 in pencil. Numbered 15/50. Limited edition print by icon of the 20th Century, Elizabeth Catlett.
Category

20th Century Modern Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

SECOND GENERATION Signed Lithograph, For My People by Margaret Walker, Protest
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
Category

1990s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

VENDEDORA DE PERIODICAS Signed Lithograph, Mexican Woman Newspaper Vendor
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
Category

2010s Realist Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

MAN Signed Woodcut, Indigenous Portrait Head, Mexican Culture
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
Category

Early 2000s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Woodcut

ALL THE PEOPLE Signed Lithograph, For My People-Margaret Walker, Rainbow Faces
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
ALL THE PEOPLE is an original hand drawn limited edition lithograph by the highly acclaimed African-American woman artist Elizabeth Catlett, master printmaker and sculptor best known...
Category

1990s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

Elizabeth Catlett 1st State Early Edition. "Black is Beautiful"
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in San Francisco, CA
Elizabeth Catlett: 1915-2012. Well listed and very important African American artist. This lithograph is usually titled Negro es Bello or Black is Beautiful, but this is very first s...
Category

1960s Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

Man
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Missouri, MO
Elizabeth Catlett “Man” 1975 (The Print Club of Cleveland Publication Number 83, 2005) Woodcut and Color Linocut Printed in 2003 at JK Fine Art Editions Co., Union City, New Jersey S...
Category

Late 19th Century American Modern Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Linocut, Woodcut

Triangular Woman
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in New York, NY
Elizabeth Catlett (1915 - 2012) forged a singular artistic career as a sculptor and printmaker. During the course of her long life, Catlett was profoundly influenced by a broad array...
Category

1970s American Modern Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Bronze

Black Girl
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in New York, NY
Elizabeth Catlett Black Girl, 2004 Lithograph 22 x 15 in Edition of 90 & 10 Printer's Proofs Signed, titled, dated and inscribed in pencil, lower margin.
Category

Early 2000s Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

MALCOLM X SPEAKS FOR US Signed Linocut Portrait Head Black Civil Rights Activist
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
MALCOLM X SPEAKS FOR US is a hand pulled, original limited edition relief print created using linocut printmaking techniques on white archival heavyweight Somerset paper 500 gsm., 10...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Linocut

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NEW GENERATION Signed Lithograph, Collage Portrait, Black Father and Son, Denim
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CHILDREN WITH FLOWERS Signed Lithograph, Color Collage Portrait, Print Fabric
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1990s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

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MAN Signed Woodcut, Indigenous Portrait Head, Mexican Culture
By Elizabeth Catlett
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YOUNG DOUGLASS Signed Linocut Black and White Portrait African American History
By Elizabeth Catlett
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21st Century and Contemporary Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

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VENDEDORA DE PERIODICAS Signed Lithograph, Mexican Woman Newspaper Vendor
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Previously Available Items
VENDEDORA Signed Lithograph, Portrait Seated Young Girl, Mexican Fruit Seller
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
VENDEDORA, a limited edition lithograph by the renowned American-born Mexican sculptor and printmaker Elizabeth Catlett(b.1915–2012) depicts a sensitive black and white portrait of a...
Category

Early 2000s Realist Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN(Turban), Hand Drawn Lithograph, Black Female Portrait
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN is an original hand drawn, limited edition lithograph by the renowned African American woman artist Elizabeth Catlett, printed in light black ink on archival c...
Category

Early 2000s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

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Lithograph

CRUSADERS OR JUSTICE, Signed Linocut Portrait, Thurgood Marshall, Civil Rights
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
CRUSADERS FOR JUSTICE is a hand pulled original limited edition relief print created using linocut printmaking techniques on white archival heavyweight paper, 100% acid free. Penci...
Category

Early 2000s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Linocut

MALCOLM X SPEAKS FOR US, Signed Linocut, African American Civil Rights Activist
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
MALCOLM X SPEAKS FOR US is a hand pulled, original limited edition relief print created using linocut printmaking techniques on white archival heavyweight Somerset paper 500 gsm., 10...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Linocut

YOUNG DOUGLASS Signed Linocut Black and White Portrait African American History
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
YOUNG DOUGLASS is a hand pulled original limited edition relief print created using linocut printmaking techniques on white archival Somerset White paper, 100% acid free. Pencil sign...
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21st Century and Contemporary Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

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Linocut

Survivor
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Myrtle Beach, SC
Elizabeth Catlett, 'Survivor', linocut, 1983, edition 1000. Signed, titled, dated, and numbered '538/1000' in pencil. A fine impression, on heavy, cream wove paper, with margins ( 1/...
Category

1980s American Modern Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Linocut

  • Survivor
  • Survivor
  • Survivor
  • Survivor
H 9.38 in. W 7.44 in.
MAN Signed Woodcut, Indigenous Portrait Head, Mexican Culture
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
MAN is a hand pulled, original limited edition relief print created using woodcut and serigraphy(silkscreen) printmaking techniques on white archival heavyweight paper, 100% acid fr...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Woodcut

Survivor
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Myrtle Beach, SC
Elizabeth Catlett, 'Survivor', linocut, 1983, edition 1000. Signed, titled, dated, and numbered '908/1000' in pencil. A fine impression, on heavy, cream wove paper, with margins ( 1/...
Category

1980s American Modern Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Linocut

  • Survivor
  • Survivor
  • Survivor
  • Survivor
H 9.38 in. W 7.44 in.
MAN, Signed Woodcut, Indigenous Portrait Head, Mexican Culture
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
MAN is a hand pulled, original limited edition relief print created using woodcut and serigraphy(silkscreen) printmaking techniques on white archival heavyweight paper, 100% acid fr...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Woodcut

CANDACE 1992 Tribute To African American Women, Commemorative Art Poster
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
ELIZABETH CATLETT Candace - 10th Anniversary Celebration 1992, A Tribute to African American Women National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Commemorative Art Poster Year printed - 19...
Category

1990s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

Materials

Lithograph

DANCING II, Signed Lithograph, Black and White Dance Portrait, Black Culture
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
DANCING II is an original limited edition lithograph printed in black ink on white archival printmaking paper using hand lithography techniques, hand deckled print edges, embossed wi...
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Early 2000s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

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Lithograph

AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN(Turban), Hand Drawn Lithograph, Black Female Portrait
By Elizabeth Catlett
Located in Union City, NJ
AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN is an original hand drawn, limited edition lithograph by the renowned African American woman artist Elizabeth Catlett, printed in light black ink on archival c...
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Early 2000s Contemporary Elizabeth Catlett Art

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