Sunday, March 19, 2000

Museum acquires sculpture by Elizabeth Cattlett




        Elizabeth Catlett's bronze portrait of poet Phillis Wheatley has been acquired by the Cincinnati Art Museum.

        The 1973 work honors the 18th-century poet who, as a child, was brought to America as a slave and sold to Bostonian John Wheatley. She was given an education by Mary Wheatley and was writing poetry by the age of 14.

        Ms. Catlett's sculpture is based on the only image of Miss Wheatley, in a 1773 edition of her poems. For the sculpture, Ms. Catlett altered Miss Wheatley's face to resemble an African mask. The work is displayed in Contemporary Gallery 231.

        Born in 1915 in Washington, D.C., Ms. Catlett is among the most prominent living African-American artists. She works as a sculptor and printmaker. She headed the sculpture department at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Since 1982 she has divided her time between New York and Mexico.

       



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