Sculptor Elizabeth Catlett dies in Mexico


MEXICO CITY—Sculptor and printmaker Elizabeth Catlett, a U.S. expatriate renowned for her dignified portrayals of African-American and Mexican women and who was barred from her home country for political activism during the McCarthy era, has died. She was 96.

Maria Antonieta Alvarez, Catlett’s daughter-in-law, said the artist died Monday in a house in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where she had lived since 1976.

Born in Washington, D.C., Catlett moved to Mexico in 1946, became friends with great Mexican muralist Diego Rivera and others in his circle, and married Mexican artist Francisco Mora.

She became known for her commitment to winning greater rights for blacks, women and workers in the United States and her adopted country. Catlett witnessed almost every important artistic and social movement of the 20th century and traveled in some of the same illustrious circles as the great American artist Jacob Lawrence and poet Langston Hughes.

She was arrested during a railroad workers’ protest in Mexico City in 1958 and in 1962 the U.S. State Department banned her from returning to the United States for nearly a decade because of her political affiliations.

Working in wood, stone and other natural materials, she produced simple, flowing sculptures of women, children and laborers, and prints of Mexicans and black Americans that she used to promote social justice.

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30 Responses

  1. Kagalwala says:

    From her experiences with people, she did a series of paintings, prints, and sculptures with the theme “I Am a Negro Woman.”… a role model for the blacks…

  2. Hasan says:

    Known for her abstract sculpture in bronze and marble as well as prints and paintings, particularly depicting the female figure, Elizabeth Catlett is unique for distilling African American, Native American, and Mexican art in her work…..

  3. Tasneem says:

    She is a recipient of prestigious awards and is highlighted in major exhibitions throughout the country.. Will miss her!

  4. Sarah says:

    Elizabeths prints expressed her lifelong commitment to use art as a tool for social change, often incorporating the slogans (“Black Is Beautiful”) and revolutionary heroes (Angela Davis and Malcolm X) of the civil rights and black power movements…

  5. Hamza says:

    She is an artist whom i hav closely followed..Some of her best-known prints are Sharecropper (1968 or 1970) and Malcolm X Speaks for Us (1969). Well-known sculptured pieces include Dancing Figure (1961), The Black Woman Speaks and Target (1970), and The Singing Head…

  6. Rakesh says:

    Such a nice article!! Thanx for sharing this informatio.. Sad to heat her demise…

    • october says:

      Thank you for visiting our site. We hope that it has been a source of information and inspiration to you. Come again.

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