2005 Elizabeth Catlett

2005 Elizabeth Catlett

Renowned artist Elizabeth Catlett created the Print Club’s 2005 Presentation Print, entitled Gossip, in collaboration with master printer Randy Hemminghaus and master paper maker Anne McKeown of the Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper. The artist, over 90 years old at the time, traveled from her home in Cuernavaca, Mexico, to New Brunswick to create the print. It allowed her to experiment with a new technique, a combination of photolithograph and giclée printing.

Born in 1915 in Washington, Catlett attended Howard University and then went on to earn an MFA at University of Iowa where she studied under the famed Regionalist, Grant Wood. She also studied at the Art Students League and the Art Institute of Chicago. Catlett became an influential teacher herself, at Prairie View College, Dillard University and, finally, from 1959 to 1979, at the Universidad de Mexico.

Gossip was created by the artist drawing first on Mylar in ink and lithographic crayon. Because Catlett often incorporates patterns and fabrics into her work, the decision was made to create the background digitally. The artist brought various swatches of material with her to New Jersey. These were scanned into the computer, and Hemminghaus worked with Catlett to “build” the background she wanted, creating a virtual collage. It was Catlett’s first opportunity to work on the computer, and she found it very exciting. The final print is a marriage of traditional and digital printing. The background is a giclée from an Epson printer; the remainder (the black and white drawing from the Mylar) was overprinted lithographically.

Catlett has been the subject of numerous exhibitions over the decades, and is renowned both as a graphic artist and as a sculptor. She has received many awards over the course of her long career, including being honored during the summer of 2005 by the Southern Graphics Conference in Washington, D.C.

~ Gillian Greenhill Hannum ~

Museum Collections

Block Museum of Art Northwestern University, Illinois
Delaware Art Museum, Delaware
Hudson County Community College Foundation, New Jersey
Palmer Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts