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Women Artists of the Harlem Renaissance$
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Amy Helene Kirschke

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781628460339

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2015

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628460339.001.0001

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Elizabeth Catlett: Inheriting the Legacy

Elizabeth Catlett: Inheriting the Legacy

(p.205) Chapter Eight Elizabeth Catlett: Inheriting the Legacy
Women Artists of the Harlem Renaissance

Melanie Anne Herzog

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter deals with the unique style of Elizabeth Catlett (1915–2012). As an artist, she was able to capture the beauty of dark faces in an expressive manner, showing the sentiments of race, inequality, class, gender inequities, and even the consciousness of injustice. She used art as a form of community empowerment, especially for both ordinary and extraordinary women that reflects their hopes, struggles, sorrows, and achievement. After graduating from Dunbar High School in Washington, she went on to Howard University where she graduated cum laude with a B.S. in art. She studied with James Porter and James Wells, and was influenced by Mexican muralists. She then went to the University of Iowa where she received the first masters in fine arts in sculpture offered by the university. In 1940, her sculpture “Negro Mother and Child” won the First Award in Sculpture at the American Negro Exposition in Chicago. Her work, sometimes labeled as militant, mellowed in time. In 1992, Catlett produced a series of offset lithographs in collaboration with Margaret Walker Alexander whose epic poem, “For My People” together with Cartlett's images, came to be recognized as an embodiment of the legacy of the Harlem Renaissance.

Keywords:   Negro Mother and Child, Margaret Walker Alexander, For My People

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