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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 9, 2007

Image: Madonna by Elizabeth Catlett, 1982, Lithograph, Edwin B. Green Art Acquisition Endowment Fund. All art by Elizabeth Catlett is ©Elizabeth Catlett/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

UI Museum Of Art Will Present Lecture On Elizabeth Catlett Feb. 23

Kathleen Edwards, curator of European and American art at the University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA), will present a lecture on the museum's recent purchase of prints by artist and UI alumna Elizabeth Catlett at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23, in the museum's Lasansky Room. A reception will follow the lecture.

The lecture and reception, sponsored by the Elliott Society of the UIMA, are free and open to the public.

Catlett studied under Grant Wood and became the first recipient of a master of fine arts degree in sculpture from the UI School of Art and Art History in 1940. At the age of 91, she remains one of the most celebrated African-American artists alive. Having lived in Mexico for the past 60 years, she creates deeply political works that chronicle the stories and experiences of African-Americans and Mexicans, especially women.

"Catlett's work is full of empathy and celebration, while it also can convey sorrow for the past and fear for the future," Edwards said.

While visiting Catlett in the summer of 2006, Edwards selected a group of 27 prints for the UIMA from the artist's collection, including several rare impressions. The purchase was supported by the Edwin B. Green Acquisition Endowment.

In turn, Catlett has donated the entire purchase price of the prints to the University of Iowa Foundation to create a scholarship fund in the School of Art and Art History. The Elizabeth Catlett Mora Scholarship Fund will benefit undergraduate and graduate printmaking students who are African American and Latino(a).

In addition to this major purchase, Catlett's bronze sculpture "Stepping Out" (2000) was purchased with Art in State Building funds from the renovation of the Iowa Memorial Union, where it was unveiled last month.

Born in Washington, D.C., in 1915, Catlett went to Mexico City on a fellowship in 1946, drawing inspiration for her early work from the populist murals of artists including Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco. She settled in Mexico after her studies at the UI. In addition to many other accolades, she has received a Lifetime Achievement award in Contemporary Sculpture from the International Sculpture Center.

The Elliott Society is a UIMA donor group that studies all areas of the UIMA collection. For information on membership, please contact the museum at 319-331-1727.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open noon to 9 p.m. Fridays. Admission is free. For more information, visit the UI Museum of Art Web page:

The School of Art and Art History is an academic unit of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072; cell: 319-541-2846;