E l i z a b e t h -C a t l e t t-- -- 1 9 1 5 - 2 0 1 2



I am the Negro Women I am the Black Woman series- - 1946-47, 1989

In 1946, Elizabeth Catlett, who had long admired the work of the Mexican muralists, received a a Julius Rosenwald Foundation Grant which enabled her to travel to Mexico City. There she found an artistic home at the printmaking collective Taller de Gráphica Popular. Inspired by the political, primarily leftist art being produced there, she created her pivotal series of 15 linocuts I am the Negro Woman. In this series Catlett honors the heroines of African-American history and celebrates the courage and perseverance of ordinary black women. Through her first-person titling of these works she identifies directly in the larger African-American struggle while inviting the viewer to a shared experience of compassion.

As many of the original impressions from the Taller de Gráfica Popular did not survive, in 1989, Catlett reprinted the series in an edition of 20, revising the series title to reflect the changes in language and politics of the era. The matrix from her original series, I have studied in ever increasing numbers, did not survive; the 1989 edition includes the other 14 subjects.

 

I am the Black Woman (from the series I am the Negro Women)- -1946-47, color linoleum cut.

Edition 20, from the 1989 series of 14 linoleum cuts printed at Robert Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop and entitled I am the Black Woman.

Signed, dated ‘46, titled, and numbered 18/20 in pencil.

Image size 5 1/8 x 3 15/16 inches (130 x 100 mm); sheet size 8 x 10 inches (203 x 254 mm).

A superb impression, on heavy cream wove paper, with full margins (2 to 3 inches), in excellent condition. Scarce.

Exhibited: National Humanities Center, Elizabeth Catlett: In the Image of the People, 2007.

Collections: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1947 impression), Whitney Museum of American Art (1989 impression), University of Iowa Museum of Art (1989 impression).

SOLD

I am series, Portrait, Black Woman, African American, Slavery, modernisn, dignity

I’m Harriet Tubman I helped hundreds to freedom (from the series I am the Negro Women) - 1946, linoleum cut.

Edition 20, from the 1989 series of 14 linoleum cuts printed at Robert Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop and entitled I am the Black Woman.

Signed, dated ‘46 titled, and numbered 18/20 in pencil.

Image size 9 1/8 x 7 inches (232 x 178 mm); sheet size 15 x 11 1/4 inches (381 x 286 mm).

A fine, rich impression, on heavy cream wove paper, with full margins (2 to 3 inches), in excellent condition. Scarce.

Exhibited: National Humanities Center, Elizabeth Catlett: In the Image of the People, 2007.

Collections: Whitney Museum of American Art (1989 impression), University of Iowa Museum of Art (1989 impression).

SOLD

African American Woman, Negro Woman, I am series, Slavery, Underground Railroad, Freedom

My right is a future of equality with other Americans (from the series I am the Negro Women) --1947, linoleum cut.

Edition 20, from the 1989 series of 14 linoleum cuts printed at Robert Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop and entitled I am the Black Woman.

Signed, dated ‘47, titled, and numbered 18/20 in pencil.

Image size 9 1/4 x 6 inches (235 x 152 mm); sheet size 15 x 11 1/8 inches (381 x 283 mm).

A superb impression, with fresh, strong colors, on heavy cream wove paper, with full margins (2 1/2 to 3 inches), in excellent condition. Scarce.

Exhibited: National Humanities Center, Elizabeth Catlett: In the Image of the People, 2007.

Collections: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1947 impression), Whitney Museum of American Art (1989 impression), University of Iowa Museum of Art (1989 impression).

SOLD

African American Woman, Negro Woman, I am series, Slavery


Survivor --1983, linoleum cut.

Edition 1000. Signed, titled, dated, and numbered 553/1000 in pencil.

Image size 9 3/8 x 7 7/16 inches (238 x 189 mm); sheet size 11 1/4 x 10 1/8 inches (286 x 257 mm).

A fine impression, on heavy cream wove paper, with margins (1/2 to 1 3/8 inches), in excellent condition.

Collections: Chazen Museum of Art (University of Wisconsin–Madison), Hampton University Museum, Lasalle University Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Miami-Dade Public Library, National Gallery of Art, Scripps College (CA), Toledo Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, University of Iowa Museum of Art.

“Elizabeth Catlett's prints cry out in protest, proclaim solidarity, demand justice, and celebrate the determination, staunch resistance, and, at times against all odds, sheer survival of ordinary people. For more than sixty years, first in the United States and then in Mexico, Catlett has produced politically charged and aesthetically compelling graphic images of what matters most to her -- the lives of everyday people, the heroines and heroes of African American and Latin American liberation movements. Printmaking for Catlett is a consciously political practice. At the same time, however, her prints -- some intricately detailed and others elegantly spare -- manifest her understanding that the power of an image resides in the artist's command of form, sensitivity to materials, and technical proficiency. As an artist for whom community is fundamentally important, Catlett is steadfastly convinced that her art must speak clearly to her audience, and the clarity and eloquence of the visual language she employs derive from her ongoing engagement with both artists and non-artists. Indeed, it is people that matter most to her.
Catlett's Survivor of 1983 depicts a rural Southern U.S. laborer, careworn and strong. Derived directly from Dorothea Lange's Ex-slave with a Long Memory, a photograph Lange made in Alabama in 1937-38 while documenting rural Southern life in the United States for the Farm Security Administration (the woman in Lange's photograph faces left, while Catlett's linocut image, drawn following Lange and reversed in the printing process, faces right), Survivor recalls the TGP's use of well-known photographic images as sources. Yet, while the woman in Lange's photograph is seen against the background of the field in which she toils, Catlett's minimally rendered background only suggests topography in its abstract linear pattern. Outlined in white, the woman becomes the unmistakable focus of the image. As in her earlier linocuts, Catlett utilized various nicks, gouges, and incised lines to delineate her subject's physical presence, but in contrast to her work at the TGP, this image is somewhat more spare, reminiscent of Kollwitz's later woodcuts.”
—Melanie Herzog, Art Institute of Chicago

$6800.

African American Woman, Negro Woman, I am series, Slavery

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