Elizabeth Catlett (1919-2012)
Elizabeth Catlett (1919-2012)


Elizabeth Catlett (1919-2012)
inscribed 'EC' (along the side)
bronze with brown patina
14 in. (35.6 cm.) high on a 2 in. (5.1 cm.) wood base
Cast in 2002.
Malcolm Brown Gallery, Shaker Heights, Ohio.
Private collection, New Jersey, acquired from the above, 2004.
E. Catlett, M. Yoshimoto, M.A. Herzog, For My People: The Art of Elizabeth Catlett, exhibition catalogue, Jersey City, New Jersey, 2006, p. 42, pl. 28, illustrated.
Shaker Heights, Ohio, Malcolm Brown Gallery, Elizabeth Catlett: Sculpture and Works on Paper, September 20-November 16, 2002.
Jersey City, New Jersey, New Jersey City University, The Harold B. Lemmerman Gallery, For My People: The Art of Elizabeth Catlett, April 3-May 17, 2006.

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Lot Essay

Recognized as both a skilled printmaker and sculptor, Elizabeth Catlett's impressive career spanned more than 70 years. In both media, Catlett's celebration of the African-American female form is evident. Lowery Stokes Sims wrote of Catlett's depiction of women, "Her women are characterized by sturdy, voluptuous physiques that invite comparisons with the well-known female presences that predominate the oeuvre of the Mexican sculpture Francisco Zuniga...In Catlett's oeuvre, the female form is never gratuitously eroticized, but rather analyzed and defined for its manifestation of fecundity and strength." (June Kelly Gallery, Elizabeth Catlett: Sculpture, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1993, p. 5)

The subject of this work is likely Mahalia Jackson, the celebrated gospel singer. Not unlike Catlett, Jackson was a symbol of strength and accomplishment, having been the first gospel singer to perform at Carnegie Hall and later was invited to sing at John F. Kennedy's inaugural ball. Catlett's admiration for Jackson culminated in a monumental sculpture of the singer that stands in New Orleans' Treme neighborhood.

This sculpture is cast number one in an edition of five.

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