Head of a Woman (Woman)

Elizabeth Catlett American and Mexican

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 999

A rare early painting by Catlett, Head of a Woman dates to the artist’s time working in Harlem at the George Washington Carver School, where she fundraised and managed publicity while also teaching sculpture and sewing. She derived many subjects from her experiences at the community school, which was attended by domestic servants, cooks, janitors, elevator operators, and garment industry workers. The woman boldly rendered here casts a penetrating gaze to her side, while the strong shape of her head fills the painting’s modest dimensions. In 1946 Catlett relocated to Mexico City, where she participated in a collective of socially conscious artists. There, she turned to wood sculpture and stylized depictions of mothers with children.

Head of a Woman (Woman), Elizabeth Catlett (American and Mexican, Washington, D.C. 1915–2012 Cuernavaca), Oil on canvas

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