Mother and Child

Elizabeth Catlett American and Mexican

Not on view

Catlett was a prolific printmaker throughout her long career. This compact image of mother and child embracing looks as if it could have been carved from wood or stone. Taking advantage of the various tonal gradations produced by the lithographic process, Catlett articulated 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 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."

Mother and Child, Elizabeth Catlett (American and Mexican, Washington, D.C. 1915–2012 Cuernavaca), Lithograph

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