Cortor, Eldzier, 1916-

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Eldzier Cortor (1916- ) is a painter and printmaker in Chicago, Ill. and New York, N.Y.

From the description of Eldzier Cortor papers, circa 1925-2009. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 495595002

From the description of Eldzier Cortor papers, circa 1930s-2009, bulk 1972-2009. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 710018186

From the description of Eldzier Cortor papers, circa 1930s-2009, bulk 1972-2009. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 613313727

Painter; Chicago, Ill.

From the description of Eldzier Cortor papers, 1940-1969. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 82465344

Eldzier Cortor (1916- ) is a painter and printmaker in Chicago, Ill. and New York, N.Y.

Cortor spent his professional career as a painter and printmaker in Chicago and New York. He was born in Richmond, Virginia to John and Ophelia Cortor. In 1917, a year after his birth, they moved to Chicago along with countless other African-Americans as part of the Great Migration. Cortor was interested in art from an early age, citing Leslie Roger's comic strip "Bungleton Green" as his favorite. He would copy the Chicago Defender strips in near identical detail. However, Cortor's father did not support his son's interest in art, and soon Eldzier had dropped out of school.

In 1936, Cortor took evening classes at the Art Institute of Chicago prior to enrolling full time. Kathleen Blackshear, an instructor at the institute, recommended Cortor for employment at the Works Project Administration in 1940. It was under Blackshear's guidance that Cortor was introduced to African Art. Cortor has stated that the Works Project Administration made it possible for "me to make a series of genre paintings depicting the ordinary aspects of daily life of the Black family on the Chicago Southside." The depiction of African-Americans became the defining subject of Cortor's career, specifically the portrayal of the African-American woman, which he commonly represented nude in paintings and prints. "She conveys a feeling of eternity," said Cortor. "The continuance of life. The Black woman represents the Black race. She is the Black spirit."

In 1941, with funding by the Works Project Administration, Cortor helped found the South Side Community Arts Center in Chicago. Over the next few years he would receive two Rosenwald Fellowships, which allowed him to travel to the Sea Islands of Georgia. Afterward, Cortor transitioned to New York, and in 1946 Life magazine published his artwork of a nude African-American female. In 1949 he received a Guggenheim fellowship, which provided the opportunity to travel to Cuba, Jamaica and Haiti. He settled in Port-au-Prince where he taught art for two years.

Cortor married Sophia Schmidt on August 20, 1951, and they subsequently had four children: Michael, Mercedes, Stephen and Miriam. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Studio Museum of Harlem and National Center of Afro-American Artists in Boston. Notable exhibitions include Three Masters: Eldzier Cortor, Hughie Lee-Smith and Archibald John Motley, Jr. at Kenkeleba House in 1988; Southern Gate: African American Paintings from the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution at Duke University Museum of Art, 1999; Eldzier Cortor: Master Printmaker at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, 2002; and Black Spirit: Work on Paper by Eldzier Cortor at the Indiana University Art Museum, 2006.

From the guide to the Eldzier Cortor Papers, circa 1930s-2009, bulk 1972-2009, (Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution)

Relation Name
associatedWith Anderson Gallery. corporateBody
associatedWith Art Institute of Chicago corporateBody
associatedWith Bridaham, Lester Burbank. person
associatedWith Brooklyn Museum. corporateBody
associatedWith Collier, Leontine L. person
associatedWith Driskell, David C. person
associatedWith Harrigan, Violetta C., 1941- person
associatedWith Indiana University. corporateBody
associatedWith Kenkeleba House. corporateBody
associatedWith Lynch, Acklyn. person
associatedWith Michael Rosenfeld Gallery. corporateBody
associatedWith Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, Ill.) corporateBody
associatedWith Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith National African American Museum (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Porter, David, 1912- person
associatedWith Porter, Edwin David, 1912- person
associatedWith Studio Museum in Harlem. corporateBody
associatedWith Sylvan Cole Gallery. corporateBody
associatedWith Taha, Halima person
associatedWith Taha, Halima. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (State)--New York
New York (State)--New York
Art--Economic aspects
African American painters--Illinois--Chicago
Art Forgeries
Printmakers--New York (State)--New York
Art, American
African American artists
African American painters--New York (State)--New York
Art--American (?)--Reproductions
African American painters


Birth 1916-01-10




Ark ID: w6k08jz9

SNAC ID: 1705695