Jan 16, 2015-Apr 05, 2015

The Art of Elizabeth Catlett

The Art of Elizabeth Catlett: Selections from the Collection of Samella Lewis will be presented at the Museum of the African Diaspora from January 16 through April 5 , 2015. The work comes from the collection of artist, educator and author Samella Lewis, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, Art History, Scripps College, Claremont, CA. Lewis was a student of Catlett’s in the 1940’s and Catlett became her mentor. The two became lifetime friends.

“With her recent passing, she still lives in my life and my heart as my teacher and my friend. I will always remember her and be thankful for her friendship”

—Samella Lewis

Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012), a sculptor and printmaker, is widely considered one of the most important African American artists of the 20th century. Her work blends art and social consciousness to confront the most disturbing injustices against African Americans. She is best known for her work during the 1960s and 70s, when she created politically charged, black expressionistic sculptures and prints. Catlett, a sculptor and graphic artist, was born in Washington, D.C. in 1915. She attended Howard University where she studied design, printmaking and drawing. In 1940 Catlett became the first student to receive a Master’s degree in sculpture at the University of Iowa. In 1946 Catlett received a fellowship that allowed her to travel to Mexico City where she studied painting, sculpture and lithography. There, she worked with the People’s Graphic Arts Workshop, a group of printmakers dedicated to using their art to promote social change. After settling in Mexico and later becoming a Mexican citizen, she taught sculpture at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City until retiring in 1975.

MoAD – Full Interview – Samella Lewis on Elizabeth Catlett from Museum of the African Diaspora on Vimeo.