Catlett, Elizabeth, 1915-2012

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Elizabeth Catlett (b. Apr. 15, 1915, Washington, DC–d. Apr. 2, 2012, Cuernavaca, Mexico) was the granddaughter of freed slaves and a graduate of Howard University. She studied with artist Lois Mailou Jones and philosopher Alain Locke at Howard and also came to know artists James Herring, James Wells, and art historian James A. Porter. Catlett was a graduate student at the University of Iowa and studied drawing and painting with Grant Wood and sculpture with Harry Edward Stinson. Catlett graduated in 1940, one of three to earn the first masters in fine arts from the university, and the first African-American woman to receive the degree.

She moved to New Orleans to work at Dillard University and studied ceramics at the Art Institute of Chicago and lithography at the South Side Community Art Center during the summer. There she met her first husband, artist Charles Wilbert White, and they married in 1941 before moving to New York City. She studied lithography at the Art Students League of New York and worked with sculptor Ossip Zadkine. She met intellectuals and artists such as Gwendolyn Bennett, W. E. B. Dubois, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, Jacob Lawrence, Aaron Douglas, and Paul Robeson.

In 1946, Catlett moved to Mexico and divorced White. She entered the Taller de Gráfica Popular and met printmaker and muralist Francisco Mora, whom she married and had three children: Francisco, Juan Mora Catlett, and David. She studied sculpture at the Escuela Nacional de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado "La Esmeralda" with José L. Ruíz and Francisco Zúñiga and later met Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

Catlett came under surveillance by the United States and declared an "undesirable alien," being denied entry to the US. In 1962, she renounced her American citizenship and became a Mexican citizen.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf CATLETT, ELIZABETH. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
referencedIn Herbert Aptheker Papers, 1842-1999, (bulk 1934-1994) Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Taller de Gráfica Popular (Mexico City, Mexico). Taller de Gráfica Popular collection [graphic]. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Catlett, Elizabeth Mora., 1919-. Papers. 1902-84 and n.d. Tulane University, Amistad Research Center
referencedIn Woman's Building records, 1960-2016 Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Mexican life; graphic masterpieces depicting the life and people of Mexico : portfolio of eight prints. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Catlett-Mora, Elizabeth, 1915-. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
referencedIn Guide to the Daily Worker and Daily World Photographs Collection, 1920-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Cook, Celestine Shannon Strode, 1924-1985. Papers. Tulane University, Amistad Research Center
creatorOf Catlett, Elizabeth, 1919-. Elizabeth Catlett papers, 1957-1980. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Jones, Lois Mailou. Lois Mailou Jones papers, 1920-1998. Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University
creatorOf Catlett, Elizabeth, 1915-. Elizabeth Catlett : [vertical file] Morris Museum of Art Library
referencedIn Catlett, Elizabeth, 1919- : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Catlett, Elizabeth. [Elizabeth Catlett] : artist file John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Library, Ringling Museum Library
referencedIn Chandler, Dana, 1941-. Oral history interview with Dana Chandler, 1993 Mar. 11-May 5. Archives of American Art
creatorOf Catlett, Elizabeth. [Elizabeth Catlett] : artist file John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Library, Ringling Museum Library
referencedIn Igoe, Lynn, 1937-. [Ephemera on North Carolina artists]. Part 1 of 2: Artists: C-F. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Taller de Gráfica Popular collection, 1935-1995, bulk 1953-1958 Bancroft Library
creatorOf MORA, ELIZABETH CATLETT, 1919-. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf The HistoryMakers Video Oral History with Elizabeth Catlett The HistoryMakers
Relation Name
associatedWith Aptheker, Herbert person
alumnusOrAlumnaOf Art Institute of Chicago. corporateBody
associatedWith Baraka, Amiri, 1934- person
associatedWith Bennett, Gwendolyn, 1902-1981 person
associatedWith Britton, Crystal. person
associatedWith Catlett, Elizabeth person
parentOf Catlett, Juan Mora person
associatedWith Chandler, Dana, 1941- person
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Cook, Celestine. person
associatedWith Cook, Celestine Shannon Strode, 1924-1985. person
associatedWith Davis, Angela Yvonne, 1944- person
employeeOf Dillard University corporateBody
associatedWith Douglas, Aaron person
associatedWith Driskell, David, 1931- person
associatedWith Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963 person
associatedWith Elizabeth Catlett, person
associatedWith Ellison, Ralph person
employeeOf George Washington Carver School corporateBody
associatedWith Harding, Vincent. person
alumnusOrAlumnaOf Howard University corporateBody
associatedWith Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967 person
associatedWith Johnson, Clifton H. (Clifton Herman), 1921-2008. person
associatedWith Jones, Lois Mailou. person
associatedWith Julius Rosenwald Fund corporateBody
associatedWith Kahlo, Frida person
associatedWith Lawrence, Jacob, 1917-2000 person
associatedWith Lewis, Samella S., 1924- person
associatedWith Locke, Alain LeRoy, 1886-1964 person
spouseOf Mora, Francisco, 1922- person
associatedWith Morial, Ernest N., 1929- person
associatedWith Porter, James A. (James Amos), 1905-1970 person
associatedWith Rivera, Diego, 1886-1957 person
associatedWith Robeson, Paul person
associatedWith Sanders, Mildred Elizabeth. person
associatedWith Siqueiros, David Alfaro person
alumnusOrAlumnaOf South Side Community Art Center corporateBody
alumnusOrAlumnaOf Taller de Gráfica Popular (Mexico City, Mexico) corporateBody
associatedWith Taller de Gráfica Popular (Mexico City, Mexico) corporateBody
alumnusOrAlumnaOf The Art Students League of New York. corporateBody
associatedWith The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Thigpen, Joyce. person
alumnusOrAlumnaOf University of Iowa. Graduate college corporateBody
associatedWith Walker, Margaret, 1915-1998. person
spouseOf White, Charles, 1918-1979 person
associatedWith Woman's Building (Los Angeles, Calif.) corporateBody
associatedWith Wood, Grant, 1891-1942 person
associatedWith Zadkine, Ossip person
associatedWith Zuniga, Francisco, 1912-1998 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Washington (D.C.)
United States 00 US
New York (N.Y.)
Washington, D. C. DC US
Mexico 00 MX
Cuernavaca 17 MX
Subject
Artists
African American arts
Women sculptors
African American women artists
Women artists
African American artists
Women art teachers
Art teachers
Painters
Women painters
Art and race
Artists as teachers
Sculptors
Women engravers
Printmakers
Political persecution--Women artists--United States and Mexico
Art Teachers--Dillard University
Political art--United States--Minorities
Occupation
Art Professor
Sculptor
Sculptors
Printmaker
Teachers
Printmaker
Activity

Person

Birth 1915-04-15

Death 2012-04-02

Birth 19150415

Death 20120402

Americans

Information

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Ark ID: w6bd4nnz

SNAC ID: 83897120