Jun 04, 2020 - Sale 2535

Sale 2535 - Lot 99

Price Realized: $ 125,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 100,000 - $ 150,000
Untitled (Standing Woman).

Carved mahogany, mounted on a wooden base, 1975. Approximately 635x229x152 mm; 25x9x6 inches, not including the base. Incised initials "EC" and date "75', rear of the right leg, at the base edge.

Provenance: acquired directly from the artist, Mexico City; private collection, New York (1975), thence by descent, private collection, New Jersey.

This beautiful mahogany sculpture of a standing nude is a significant, mid-career work in wood by Elizabeth Catlett. This work embodies Catlett's interest in the expression of the female form found within the natural beauty of her material. Catlett first studied wood carving between 1955 and 1959 with sculptor Jose L. Ruiz at La Esmeralda, Mexico City. By 1962, Catlett had her first Mexican solo exhibition at Escuela Nacional de Artes Plàsticas, San Carlos, according to Melanie Herzog in Elizabeth Catlett: An American Artist in Mexico, where Catlett had become the first woman to teach sculpture in 1959. Catlett describes her work as representations of women, black women and herself - "I am a black woman. I use my body in working. When I am bathing or dressing, I see and feel how my body looks and moves. I never do sculpture from a nude model...Mostly I watch women."

As with other mahogany works from this mid- to late 1970s period, like Singing Head, 1975 and Seated Figure, 1979, the very distinctive and almost abstract shape of the wood defines the form. In addition, both the grain and finish reinforce the sensuality and upward movement of the standing nude. In 1976, Caltett made a very similar version in orange onyx entitled Standing Figure. Gedeon p. 76; Herzog pp. 117-121; Lewis pp. 74 and 78.