I am the Negro Woman

Elizabeth Catlett

I am the Negro Woman


Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012)




Linocut on paper


5 1/2 x 5 in. (13.97 x 12.7 cm.)

Accession #:


Credit Line:

Art by Women Collection, Gift of Linda Lee Alter


Art © Catlett Mora Family Trust/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY | http://www.vagarights.com

In 1946, Catlett went to Mexico City to make prints at the Taller de Gráfica Popular (People's Graphic Arts Workshop) and to study sculpture. Produced at the workshop, her "Negro Woman" series of fifteen linocuts (later titled "The Black Woman") is an epic commemoration of the historic oppression, resistance, and survival of African-American women. The close-cropped, starkly chiseled, and simultaneously intimate and monumental images demand witness to the historically marginalized achievements of African-American heroines and the private realities of the lives of ordinary African-American women. Informed by Catlett's politics and her social convictions, the prints also manifest her command of form, sensitivity to materials, and technical proficiency. The "Negro Woman" was revolutionary for its time as a narrative of previously unrepresented history, resistance, endurance, and hope.