The Bronx Museum of the Arts | 1040 Grand Concourse
Born in Washington, D.C., in 1915, Elizabeth Catlett became the first student to receive a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History in 1940. Highly influenced by the ideas of Grant Wood, who prodded his pupils to work with subjects they knew best, Catlett decided to focus her work on the lives of African Americans, and particularly women. In addition, she also studied ceramics at the Art Institute of Chicago, lithography at the Art Students League of New York, and sculpture with Ossip Zadkine, a cubist artist deeply influenced by African art. In the late 1940s Catlett moved to Mexico, where she worked closely with artists associated with the Taller de Gráfica Popular, the famed printmaking workshop that used art to effect social change. There she met fellow artist Francisco Mora, who became her husband in 1947, and over the following decades the couple shared their time between Mexico and
the United States.
Elizabeth Catlett is a key figure in continuing the tradition of connecting the public to artwork that explores and displays acute attention to detail, technique, and formal qualities while also exposing the social, economic, and racial issues of our time. Her inclination for multiple forms of expression—sculpture, painting, and printmaking—is reflected in the broad conceptual scope of her art and its relationship to art history. Artists that have played a part in Catlett’s personal artistic development include Spanish painter and engraver Francisco Goya, who explored the calamities of war and the corruption of the elite; Chicago born Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt, who powerfully represented the work of women in domestic settings; and German expressionist artist Käthe Kollwitz.
Thurs 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Fri 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Sat - Sun 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM