Elizabeth Catlett Mother and Child 1956

  • Not on view

Catlett came of age in the 1930s, an era of legally mandated racial segregation in the United States. Racial and gender inequities were key concerns in her artistic practice, through which she affirmed a steadfast commitment to social and political justice. Catlett trained as a sculptor in the late 1930s and moved to Mexico in 1946, where she focused on printmaking for many years. She made Mother and Child upon her return to sculpture in the mid–1950s. The simplified, rounded forms evoke pre-Columbian and African sculpture as well as the stylized naturalism of earlier politically committed German artists such as Kathe Kollwitz. Catlett's sculpture is a quiet monument to motherhood as experienced by many women across cultures.

Gallery label from 2011.
Terra cotta
11 1/4 x 7 x 7" (28.6 x 17.8 x 17.8 cm)
Gift of The Friends of Education of The Museum of Modern Art, The Modern Women's Fund, and Dr. Alfred Gold (by exchange)
Object number
Painting and Sculpture

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