elizabeth catlett, latch key child, 1988.
elizabeth catlett. mother and child. 1956.
Art must be realistic for me, whether sculpture or printmaking, I have always wanted my art to service my people—to reflect us, to relate to us, to stimulate us, to make us aware of our potential…. I try to tell young artists, black artists, that there’s a great need for their work. Some are only interested in doing what they want to do, not what people need.—Elizabeth Catlett
Legendary sculptress and printmaker Elizabeth Catlett passed away on April 2, 2012 in Cuernaraca, Mexico. She was 96 years old. Catlett created pieces that reflect the African-American experience, while paving a golden path for countless generations to follow.
While attending the University of Iowa for her Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture, Elizabeth Catlett was given some valuable advice by landscape painter Grant Wood. He told her and the other students to work with subjects that they were the most familiar with. For Catlett his advice struck a creative chord, the focus of her work became African Americans, specifically black women.