Feb 17, 2011 - Sale 2237

Sale 2237 - Lot 71

Price Realized: $ 108,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 120,000 - $ 180,000
Untitled (Standing African-American Woman).

Cast bronze, with a dark brown patina, 1967. 1194x508x203 mm; 47x20x8 inches (without the base). Initialed and dated on the base.

Provenance: private collection, Cuernavaca, Mexico; private collection, Santa Barbara, CA. This work had been in an American couple's collection in Mexico in the artist's hometown of Cuernavaca for over 40 years.

This stunning bronze figure is a wonderful discovery from Mexico--this is the first time this important sculpture by Elizabeth Catlett has been exhibited in the United States. As this is one of the largest bronze works by the artist that is not a public commission, and this figure is not described in either Melanie Herzog's or Samella Lewis's monographs, we believe it is likely a unique cast. It also shares her 1960s sculptures' wonderful balance between modern and classical figuration. Only a year later, in 1968, Catlett produced the iconic Homage to My Young Black Sisters in a much more abstract style.

This sculpture is very similar in its stance and form of the body to the Bañista Olmeca from 1966, which she made in two versions--one 43 inches high and the other a 10-foot high commission for the National Polytechnical Institute. Herzog relates how Catlett wanted to fuse African and Mexican influences: "It is a tall woman with a big bust and a big behind and she's got a floating towel around her. I called it Olmec because it has black features, and those were black people in Mexico despite what many anthropologists say." However, this figure has the raised arm pose and African-American features found on her smaller bronze Woman of 1964. Herzog p. 124.