Elizabeth Catlett (Mexican (born United States), Washington, D.C. 1915–2012 Cuernavaca)
Sheet: 9 1/2 x 6 1/2 in. (24.1 x 16.5 cm) Image: 8 5/8 x 5 5/8 in. (21.9 x 14.3 cm)
Gift of Reba and Dave Williams, 1999
Not on view
This print is sixth in a series of fifteen linoleum cuts that Catlett created to commemorate black women’s labor and to honor renowned heroines. Born Isabella Baumfree to an enslaved family in nineteenth-century Ulster County, New York, Sojourner Truth became an influential antislavery activist, memoirist, and feminist. Catlett shows her as a commanding figure, filling the picture plane, who stares out toward the viewer with a penetrating gaze. Truth’s strong, somewhat oversized hands—one points heavenward while the other rests next to a Bible—testify to her faith and commitment to the cause of abolition. One senses the artist’s own hand at work in the deep, direct incising of lines that characterizes her printmaking technique.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): E Catlett 1947
Reba and Dave Williams, New York (until 1999; their gift to MMA)
Samella S. Lewis. The Art of Elizabeth Catlett. Claremont, Calif., 1984, p. 186 (unknown edition).
Linda Duke. The Black Woman in America Prints by Elizabeth Catlett. Exh. cat., Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Urbana-Champaign, 1993, (not this edition).
Jeanne Zeidler inElizabeth Catlett: Works on Paper, 1944–1992. Ed. Jeanne Zeidler. Exh. cat., Hampton University Museum. Hampton, Va., 1993, pp. 6, 64, no. 10, ill. (not this edition).
Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins and Shifra M. Goldman. In the Spirit of Resistance: African-American Modernists and the Mexican Muralist School. Exh. cat., American Federation of Arts. New York, 1996, p. 130, ill. (not this edition).