Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Mother and Child

Artist:
Elizabeth Catlett (Mexican (born United States), Washington, D.C. 1915–2012 Cuernavaca)
Date:
1944
Medium:
Lithograph
Dimensions:
Sheet:12 3/8 x 9 3/8 in. (31.4 x 23.8 cm) Image: 7 3/4 x 5 3/4 in. (19.7 x 14.6 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
Gift of Reba and Dave Williams, 1999
Accession Number:
1999.529.34
Not on view
The famous sculptor Elizabeth Catlett has also been a prolific printmaker throughout her long career. This compact image of mother and child embracing looks, in fact, as if it could have been carved from wood or stone. Taking advantage of the various tonal gradations produced by the lithographic process, Catlett articulates the planes of the mother's head with deep shadows and bright highlights. The subject of maternal love and protection is one that the artist has repeated many times in both sculpture and prints. The pose of mother and child (indeed just the mere subject itself) immediately calls to mind religious representations of Mary and the Christ child. But to Catlett, this imagery had a secular meaning, which she wrote about in 1940: "The implications of motherhood, especially Negro motherhood, are quite important to me, as I am a Negro as well as a woman."
Inscription: Inscribed: (in pencil, lower left): Mother and Child; signed (lower right): Elizabeth Catlett; (in plate, lower left): EC
Reba and Dave Williams, New York (ca. 1991–99; their gift to MMA)

Newark Museum, held jointly at the Equitable Gallery, New York. "Alone in a Crowd: Prints of the 1930's–1940s by African-American Artists; From the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams," December 10, 1992–February 28, 1993, no. 11.

Long Beach Museum of Art. "Alone in a Crowd: Prints of the 1930's–1940s by African-American Artists; From the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams," June 4–August 8, 1993, no. 11.

Miami Beach. Bass Museum of Art. "Alone in a Crowd: Prints of the 1930's–1940s by African-American Artists; From the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams," June 18–August 13, 1995, no. 11.

Cambridge, England. Fitzwilliam Museum. "Alone in a Crowd: Prints of the 1930's–1940s by African-American Artists; From the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams," October 5–December 19, 1993, no. 11.

Albany. New York State Museum. "Alone in a Crowd: Prints of the 1930's–1940s by African-American Artists; From the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams," January 5–March 13, 1994, no. 11.

New Haven. Yale University Art Gallery. "Alone in a Crowd: Prints of the 1930's–1940s by African-American Artists; From the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams," April 7–June 12, 1994, no. 11.

Louisville. J. B. Speed Art Museum. "Alone in a Crowd: Prints of the 1930's–1940s by African-American Artists; From the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams," July 4–September 4, 1994, no. 11.

Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Alone in a Crowd: Prints of the 1930's–1940s by African-American Artists; From the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams," October 9–December 4, 1994, no. 11.

Baltimore Museum of Art. "Alone in a Crowd: Prints of the 1930's–1940s by African-American Artists; From the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams," January 4–February 26, 1995, no. 11.

Charleston. Gibbs Museum of Art. "Alone in a Crowd: Prints of the 1930's–1940s by African-American Artists; From the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams," March 26–May 21, 1995, no. 11.

Little Rock. Arkansas Arts Center. "Alone in a Crowd: Prints of the 1930's–1940s by African-American Artists; From the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams," September 10–November 5, 1995, no. 11.

Mobile, Ala. Fine Arts Museum of the South. "Alone in a Crowd: Prints of the 1930's–1940s by African-American Artists; From the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams," December 3, 1995–January 28, 1996, no. 11.

Brooklyn Museum. "Alone in a Crowd: Prints of the 1930's–1940s by African-American Artists; From the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams," February 25–April 22, 1996, no. 11.

Art Institute of Chicago. "Alone in a Crowd: Prints of the 1930's–1940s by African-American Artists; From the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams," May 17–July 14, 1996, no. 11.

Dallas Museum of Art. "Alone in a Crowd: Prints of the 1930's–1940s by African-American Artists; From the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams," August 9–October 6, 1996, no. 11.

Saint Louis Art Museum. "Alone in a Crowd: Prints of the 1930's–1940s by African-American Artists; From the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams," November 1, 1996–January 2, 1997, no. 11.

Atlanta. High Museum of Art. "Alone in a Crowd: Prints of the 1930's–1940s by African-American Artists; From the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams," January 31–March 30, 1997, no. 11.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "African-American Artists, 1929–1945: Prints, Drawings, and Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 15–May 4, 2003, extended to July 6, 2003, no. 29.

Bronx Museum of the Arts. "Stargazers: Elizabeth Catlett in Conversation with 21 Contemporary Artists," January 27–May 29, 2011, unnumbered cat. (p. 73).

Samella S. Lewis. The Art of Elizabeth Catlett. Claremont, Calif., 1984, p. 186 (unknown edition).

The Mexican Muralists and Prints from the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams. Exh. cat., Spanish Institute. New York, 1990, p. 33, ill. p. 7.

Reba and Dave Williams in Alone in a Crowd: Prints of the 1930s–40s by African-American Artists; From the Collection of Reba and Dave Williams. Exh. cat., Newark Museum. [New York], 1993, pp. 25, 46, no. 11, fig. 16.

Richard J. Powell in Elizabeth Catlett: Works on Paper, 1944–1992. Ed. Jeanne Zeidler. Exh. cat., Hampton University Museum. Hampton, Va., 1993, pp. 51, 64, no. 1, ill. p. 11 (not this edition).

Ellen Sragow. "An Interview with Elizabeth Catlett." Journal of the Print World 17 (Fall 1994), p. 30.

Melanie Anne Herzog. Elizabeth Catlett: An American Artist in Mexico. Seattle, 2000, pp. 42–44, fig. 13 (not this edition).

Dave H. Williams. Small Victories: One Couple's Surprising Adventures Building an Unrivaled Collection of American Prints. Boston, 2015, p. 107, fig. 7 (color).



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