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Elizabeth Catlett
YOUNG DOUGLASS Signed Linocut Black and White Portrait African American History




YOUNG DOUGLASS is a hand pulled original limited edition relief print created using linocut printmaking techniques on white archival Somerset White paper, 100% acid free. Pencil signed by Elizabeth Catlett on the lower margin, embossed with printers chop mark lower left, print documentation provided. Impactful graphic statement by the African-American woman printmaker and sculptor, Elizabeth Catlett, created as a tribute to Frederick Douglass, the most distinguished black American human rights leader of the 19th century. Strong impression printed in rich black ink on white paper, a powerful portrait of Douglass as a young man, with his identifiable facial features, thick coiffed hair, dressed in a formal high collar shirt and necktie. Print size - 22.25 x 14.75 inches Image size - 14 x 11.75 inches


  • Creator
    Elizabeth Catlett (1915 - 2012, American)
  • Creation Year
  • Dimensions
    Height: 22.25 in. (56.52 cm)Width: 14.75 in. (37.47 cm)
  • More Editions & Sizes
    Edition 90Price: $3,800
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Period
  • Condition
    Mint condition, never been framed or mounted, pencil signed and inscribed P.P.(Printers Proof) aside from the numbered edition of 90 printed in 2004, actual print number may vary upon availability, print documentation provided.
  • Gallery Location
    Union City, NJ
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU83237850592

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity.
    Ships From: Union City, NJ
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 3 days of delivery.

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About the Artist

Elizabeth Catlett

Promoting social change was Elizabeth Catlett’s prime motivation as an artist. The granddaughter of enslaved people, Catlett was born in Washington, D.C., in 1915 and spent her adult life driven to create sculptures, prints and paintings that would reach, celebrate and uplift those who were barely visible in art.

“I have always wanted my art to service Black people — to reflect us, to relate to us, to stimulate us, to make us aware of our potential,” Catlett said of her work in the 1978 book Art: African American. She studied art history, drawing and other disciplines at Howard University, and as an MFA student at the University of Iowa, her mentor, the painter Grant Wood, advised her to “take as her subject what she knew best.” As she later told an interviewer, “The thing that I knew the most about was Black women, because I am one, and I lived with them all my life, so that’s what I started working with.”

The centerpiece of Catlett’s spring 1940 thesis project, Negro Mother and Child — a figure of a Black mother embracing her child, carved from Indiana limestone — was awarded first place for sculpture at the American Negro Exposition in Chicago held that year.

Catlett taught art at Dillard University in New Orleans — where she battled discrimination daily — and met her first husband, artist Charles White, while living in Chicago. She resigned from Dillard in 1942 and moved to New York City. There Catlett befriended painter Jacob Lawrence and studied lithography and other media at the Art Students League. Inspired by her studies with Ossip Zadkine, she began to incorporate abstract forms into her wood and stone sculptures.

In 1946, a grant supported her travel to Mexico to study its murals and graphic art. As Catlett had experienced the barbaric and deeply destructive system of racial segregation that the Jim Crow laws enforced in the United States, Mexico felt like a welcome escape. She would make the country her home and create much of her work there, divorcing White and marrying painter and printmaker Francisco Mora of the Taller de Gráfica Popular (People's Graphic Workshop), or TGP, in 1947. She collaborated with TGP, a graphic arts workshop dedicated to social issues located in Mexico City, on a number of works, including one of her best-known linoleum cut prints, Sharecropper (1952). The heroic depiction of an anonymous farm worker was intended to draw attention to the plight of Black tenant farmers who were ruthlessly exploited by the era’s white landowners.

Another iconic work of Catlett’s is Black Unity (1968), a raised fist sculpted from cedar, smooth and gleaming, with one side taking the form of two faces that resemble carved African masks. In the same year, the raised fist, a powerful symbol of the Civil Rights struggle and emblem of the Black Power movement, had been immortalized by two Black American athletes, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, who raised their black-gloved fists during the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

Catlett was a professor of sculpture at the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s School of Fine Arts in Mexico City from 1958 until 1976, when she retired to focus on making art, exhibiting extensively in the years that followed. In 2003, she completed the Ralph Ellison Memorial in New York’s Riverside Park. That same year she received a lifetime achievement award from the International Sculpture Center. Her work is in the collections of museums worldwide, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Find a range of authentic Elizabeth Catlett art today on 1stDibs.

About the Seller
4.9 / 5
Located in Union City, NJ
Vetted Seller
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Established in 1975
1stDibs seller since 2018
348 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: 1 hour
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