Elizabeth Catlett Dies At 96; Among 20th Century’s Top Black Artists

Source:  Mary Rourke and Valerie J. Nelson / Los Angeles Times

Elizabeth Catlett, a sculptor and printmaker who was widely considered one of the most important African American artists of the 20th century despite having lived most of her life in Mexico, has died. She was 96.

Catlett, whose sculptures became symbols of the civil rights movement, died Monday at her home in Cuernavaca, Mexico, said her eldest son, Francisco.

Her imposing blend of art and social consciousness mirrored that of German painter Max Beckmann, Mexican muralist Diego Rivera and other artists of the mid-20th century who used art to critique power structures.

From the start of her career, Catlett “was part of a broad political milieu” that encompassed artists of many ethnicities who were committed to social justice, Melanie Anne Herzog, who wrote the 2000 biography “Elizabeth Catlett: An American Artist in Mexico,” told The Times in 2005.

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