Created by
Catlett, Elizabeth, Mexican and American, 1915 - 2012
Subject of
Wheatley Peters, Phillis, American, ca. 1753 - 1784
1946; printed 1989
ink and graphite on paper
H x W (image with title): 9 3/4 × 7 1/8 in. (24.8 × 18.1 cm)
H x W (image): 9 1/8 × 6 1/8 in. (23.2 × 15.6 cm)
H x W (sheet): 15 × 11 1/4 in. (38.1 × 28.6 cm)
I wanted to show the history and strength of all kinds of Black women. Working women, country women, great women in the history of the United States. — Elizabeth Catlett
Elizabeth Catlett was a versatile sculptor and printmaker committed to making art that promoted women, family, community, and equality. In 1946, she received a Julius Rosenwald Foundation Grant to travel and study in Mexico City. There, she worked with the Taller de Gráphica Popular (People’s Graphic Arts Workshop), a printmaking collective primarily dedicated to the production of sociopolitical art. During her stay, she completed The Negro Woman. This narrative series of prints embodies a first-person perspective of Black women, imparting a sense of intimacy and resilience as the viewer navigates a variety of images relating to resilience, heroism, and the ongoing struggle for racial justice.
Black and white linocut featuring Phillis Wheatley. Wheatley is in the foreground of the image with three women behind her. Wheatley is depicted in her well-known portrait pose, seated at a desk and writing on paper with a quill. Wheatley is facing to the right and holding the quill in her left hand. Her other hand is resting against her cheek. The three women in the background are standing, barefoot, and chained together. The title is handwritten in graphite below the image and the work is signed. The reverse is blank.
The Black Woman (formerly the Negro Woman)
Visual Arts
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Winifred Hervey
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
© 2020 Catlett Mora Family Trust/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Permission required for use. Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.

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