Sketchy Inspiration #23: Elizabeth Catlett

Posted: April 4th, 2012 | Artist: | Category: Inspiration | Tags: , | Comments Off on Sketchy Inspiration #23: Elizabeth Catlett

Linoleum cut by Elizabeth Catlett

Best known for her sculptures of strong, maternal black women, Elizabeth Catlett died on April 3, 2012, at the age of 96, with her work in museum collections around the world. An excerpt from her New York Times obituary:

“In her smoothly modeled clay, wood and stone sculptures, and vigorous woodcuts and linocuts, Ms. Catlett drew on her experience as an African-American woman who had come of age at a time of widespread segregation and who had felt its sting. But her art had other influences, including pre-Columbian sculpture, Henry Moore’s sensuous reclining nudes and Diego Rivera’s political murals.”

Catlett’s oeuvre strikes a balance between her abstract tendencies and the aesthetic imperatives (as she saw them) of art as a vehicle for positive social change: “I learned how you use your art for the service of people, struggling people, to whom only realism is meaningful,” she once said.

To learn more about Catlett, read her obituary in the New York Times.

The Sketchy Inspiration series spotlights artists from around the world. To view the series in full, visit To nominate an artist to be featured in the series, contact us.

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