Organized by the August Wilson Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
The exhibition, THE ART OF ELIZABETH CATLETT from the Collection of Samella Lewis, is now available for scheduling through 2025. The exhibition The work comes from the collection of artist, educator and author Samella Lewis, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, Art History, Scripps College, Claremont, CA. Lewis was a student of Catlett’s in the 1940’s and Catlett became her mentor. The two became lifetime friends.
Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012), a sculptor and printmaker, is widely considered one of the most important African American artists of the 20th century. Her work blended art and social consciousness and confronted the most disturbing injustices against African Americans. She is best known for her work during the 1960s and 70s, when she created politically charged, black expressionistic sculptures and prints. Catlett was born in Washington, D.C. in 1919. She attended Howard University where she studied design, printmaking and drawing. In 1940 Catlett became the first student to receive a Master’s degree in sculpture at the University of Iowa. In 1946 Catlett received a fellowship that allowed her to travel to Mexico City where she studied painting, sculpture and lithography. There, she worked with the People’s Graphic Arts Workshop, a group of printmakers dedicated to using their art to promote social change. After settling in Mexico and later becoming a Mexican citizen, she taught sculpture at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City until retiring in 1975.
Samella Lewis writes:
”Elizabeth Catlett was my friend and my mentor in art. Upon my graduation from high school, it was my good fortune to receive a scholarship to study at Dillard University where Elizabeth was the art professor. When I first met Elizabeth in 1941,my attempts at making art were strictly based on visual concepts of the European models. She is the reason that I began to see and think creatively. Dillard did not offer a studio art major, however, with Elizabeth’s assistance I was able to obtain an art scholarship from Hampton Institute to study with Dr. Viktor Lowenfeld who at that time was regarded as the most important scholar in the field of art. While I was a student at Hampton, Elizabeth and Lowenfeld opened many art doors for me. With the passing of Lowenfeld, Elizabeth remained my friend. I shall always remember her as being my mentor who was responsible for my life in art. With her recent passing, she still lives in my life and my heart as my teacher and my friend. I will always remember her and be thankful for her friendship.”
This exhibition features 30 works – sculptures and graphics by Catlett plus 5 works by her husband, artist, Francisco Mora, and 5 works by Samella Lewis.
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30 works by Elizabeth Catlett - sculptures and graphics, 3 works by Francisco Mora, 5 works by Samella Lewis.
Past and Future Venues
2024, 4 months, at Brunnier Art Museum, Ames, IA, USA
2023, 3 months, at Krasl Art Museum, St. Joseph, MO, USA
2023, 2 months, at Gadsen Arts Center, Quincy, FL, USA
2022, 3 months, at Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC, USA
2022, 2 months, at Daytona Beach Museum of Arts & Sciences, Daytona Beach, FL, USA
2021, 3 months, at Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery, College of the Holy Cross Worcester, MA, USA
2019, 3 months, at University of Delaware Museum, Newark. DE, USA
2017, 3 months, at Hudgens Center, Duluth, GA, USA