A Finding Aid to the Elizabeth Catlett Papers, 1957-1980, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.catleliz
Creators:
Catlett, Elizabeth, 1915-2012
Dates:
1957-1980
Languages:
Multiple languages
The collection is in English and Spanish.
Physical Description:
0.3 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of African American painter, printmaker, and sculptor Elizabeth Catlett measure 0.3 linear feet and date from 1957 to 1980. The collection consists of printed material, such as project-related press; exhibition announcements, catalogs, and posters; publications featuring articles about Catlett; clippings; and cards featuring reproductions of Catlett's work.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of African American painter, printmaker, and sculptor Elizabeth Catlett measure 0.3 linear feet and date from 1957 to 1980. The collection consists of printed material, such as project-related press; exhibition announcements, catalogs, and posters; publications featuring articles about Catlett; clippings; and cards featuring reproductions of Catlett's work. Some of the exhibition materials and clippings, as well as the publication gente are in Spanish.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Due to the small size of this collection, the papers are arranged as one series.
  • Series 1: Elizabeth Catlett papers, 1957-1980 (Box 1, OV 2; 0.3 linear feet)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012) was an African American painter, printmaker, and sculptor. She was born and raised in Washington, D.C. and attended Howard University after being denied admission to the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) due to her race. At Howard she studied under Loïs Mailou Jones and Alain Locke. She later studied with Grant Wood and Henry Stinson while pursuing her masters of fine arts at the University of Iowa. When she graduated in 1940, she was one of the first three students, and the only African American woman, to earn that degree from the university.
In 1946 Catlett was awarded a Rosenwald Fellowship to travel to Mexico with her husband, artist Charles White. The couple divorced that same year. In 1947, Catlett joined the Taller de Gráfica Popular, an artist's print collective devoted to leftist social causes. There she met printmaker and muralist Francisco Mora, whom she married. Catlett taught at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) from 1958 until her retirement in 1975. She divided her time between New York and Mexico. Catlett continued to produce artwork until her death in 2012. Her work is held in many notable collections such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Museum in Prague, and the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
The collection is available on 35 mm microfilm reel 2249 as part of the Archives of American Art's Texas project. The reels are only available through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the material described in the container inventory does not reflect the arrangement of the collection on microfilm.
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Rayna Andrews in 2018 with funding from the Henry Luce Foundation.
Author
Rayna Andrews
Sponsor
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Elizabeth Catlett in 1980. They were microfilmed as part of the Archives of American Art's Texas project in 1981.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Preferred Citation
Elizabeth Catlett papers, 1957-1980. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
Elizabeth Catlett papers are also located at the Amistad Research Center, Tulane University.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
African American women artists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women painters Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women sculptors Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- Mexico Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Printmakers--Mexico Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculptors -- Mexico Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/