Middlebury College Museum of Art

Elizabeth Catlett, Black is Beautiful

July 9, 2018

Elizabeth Catlett (American, 1915–2012), Black is Beautiful, 1968, lithograph, ed: 9/100, 13 x 19 5/8 inches. Collection of Middlebury College Museum of Art. Purchase with funds provided by the Reva B. Seybolt ’72 Art Acquisition Fund, 2018.

Elizabeth Catlett is among the most distinguished African American artists of the twentieth century, yet her work is somewhat less well known than her peers’ in part because she made the decision in 1947 to move permanently to Mexico. Both a print maker and a sculptor, she was repeatedly attracted to the themes of race and gender drawn or sculpted in a seductive blend of modernism and naturalism. Black is Beautiful is one of the images she created in the late 1960s to proclaim her passionate identity with the Black Power struggle. Originally titled Negro es bello, she retitled the print in English, possibly to have a greater appeal north of the border.

Richard Saunders
Professor of History of Art and Architecture

Elizabeth Catlett, Black is Beautiful