Monday, March 7, 2011

Elizabeth Catlett: Vitreous Painting on glass

Elizabeth Catlett, Vitreous Painting on glass, 8 x 10"
Well this is the 2nd attempt to complete Elizabeth Catlett. Working to complete my first piece, the panel slipped from my hand and crashed to the floor into a million pieces. Alas, the fragility of glass and the reminder of its susceptibility to its demise. Working with glass has its frusrations! I am pleased with the outcome and wish I had documentation of the first piece as a comparision.
On my museum visit venture to Charlotte on Saturday, I obtained a new book on women artists: 50 Women Artists You Should Know. So it is my new read on my growing list. It is kind of intriguing to compare my list of 50 women artists to the ones entered in this new text.
Elizabeth Catlett biography

Acclaimed printer maker and sculptor Elizabeth Catlett was born on April 15, 1915 in Washington, D.C. Growing up with grandparents who had been slaves, she was very aware of the injustices against black women. She attended Lucretia Mott Elementary School, Dunbar High School and then Howard University School of Art where she graduated cum laude in 1936 She was denied admittance to the Carnegie Institute because she was African American. After she became the first student to earn an MFA degree in sculpture from the University of Iowa in 1940 she studied ceramics at the Art Institute of Chicago, and later in New York, she studied lithography at the Art Students League. She also spent 1943 studying with sculptor Ossip Zadkine in New York. Catlett next became the promotion director of the George Washington Carver School in Harlem, where she taught with Ernie Chrichlow and Charles White. In 1946, Catlett accepted an invitation to work in MexicoCity's Taller de Grafica Popular, a collective graphic arts and mural workshop. There she cultivated the theme for her work, the African American woman. In 1947 she produced her first major show "I am a Negro Woman," a series of sculptures, prints, and paintings through a Julius Rosenwald Foundation Fellowship, which toured black women's colleges in the South. That same year, she married Mexican painter Francisco Mora. A lively community of artists surrounded her and Mora, including Rivera and his wife, Frida Kahlo. From 1958 through 1976 she directed the sculpture department at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. In 1993, Catlett received her first New York City exhibition since 1971, and in 1998 the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, New York honored her with a fifty year retrospective. Her paintings and sculptures are in the collections of New York City's Metropolitan Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Her works often focus on mother and child themes, as well as sculptures of famous African Americans.

For more information on Elizabeth Catlett visit:


  1. Oh man, Betty! Sorry to hear about the untimely demise of the 1st one. But this piece is very rich; I love the tonality & color, even if it's just a photo of the glass.
    Did you save the pieces of the broken portrait? It worked for Duchamp, after all.

  2. Thanks Jeff, No I didn't save the broken pieces. Too many pieces, shattered.... Didn't even think about saving these. Duchamp's broken pieces were not as many. But if it ever happens again, I will consider it.