Today's Hours
Museum: 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Gardens: 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Today's Hours
Museum: 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Gardens: 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Female Torso
While using the simplified lines and attention to material that were important hallmarks of Modernist sculpture, Elizabeth Catlett also strove to create works that emphasized both female and African-American empowerment. No languorous pose suggestive of Titans Venus of Urbino or Manets Olympia , Catletts Female Torso stands boldly erect, strong thighs suggestive of sustained forward movement with no allowance for impediments. As a young woman, Catlett won a competitive scholarship to Carnegie Institute of Technology, but was denied entrance because she was black. Instead, she received her B.A. at Howard University and became the first student to earn an M.F.A. at the University of Iowa. On the advice of artist Grant Wood, she focused on figurative subjects based on the African-American experience. After receiving a Julius Rosenwald Foundation grant in 1945 to create a multimedia series on The Negro Woman, she went to Mexico to work on the project. Her protests against the McCarthy witch hunts in the 1950s led to her investigation by the House Un-American Activities Committee and for a time, she was denied admittance to the U.S. She became a Mexican citizen in 1962. Over time, her contribution to American art and civil rights has come to be recognized and she has won numerous awards and honorary degrees in the U.S. and internationally.