431865 Catlett - Sharecropper - 1945


THERE IS A ROOM FULL of Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012) prints on view at Weschler’s Auctioneers and Appraisers. The Washington, D.C., auction house is exhibiting the works in advance of its African American art sale on Feb. 26. The majority of the lots up for bid are from the collection of Rev. Douglas E. Moore and Dr. Doris Hughes-Moore. The sale features 63 Catlett prints from the Moore collection, many of them personally inscribed by the artist.

Weschler’s describes the group as “one of the largest private collections of prints” by Catlett. According to the catalog, the Moore’s “close friendship” with Catlett and her husband, the Mexican painter Francisco Mora, enabled them to assemble a comprehensive collection of her work.

Weschlers Catalog 022616Rev. Moore was active in the Civil Rights Movement, organizing a student sit-in at Royal Ice Cream parlor in Durham, N.C., on June 23, 1957, prior to the more well-known Greensboro lunch counter protests in 1960. He later settled in Washington, where he was active in politics and business. A veterinarian, Dr. Hughes-Moore serves as director of Veterinary Services at Howard University College of Medicine.

Both the Moores and Catlett have ties to Washington, D.C.

Catlett was born in Washington, D.C. She attended Howard University, where she studied under artist Lois Mailou Jones, and was also taught by Alain Locke. Then she earned an MFA at the University of Iowa where she honed her sculptural skills and was encouraged by painter Grant Moore to make art about what she knew—the African American experience. She taught at Dillard University in New Orleans and during one summer in Chicago met artist Charles White. They were married for five years before divorcing. Catlett traveled to Mexico in 1946 on a fellowship and met and married Mora. She lived in Mexico for more than 50 years.

Also from the Moore collection, two lithgraphs and a watercolor by Mora are for sale, along with works by Romare Bearden, John Biggers, Jacob Lawrence, and Charles White.

Through Weschler’s, I requested an interview with the Moores to discuss their collection and the decision to sell. I was told that Dr. Hughes-Moore was unavailable to schedule a conversation at this time.

“As for why they are selling these works, I am unsure other than to possibly downsize. This is not their entire collection, as they have many more works by Catlett, Bearden and others artists,” Danielle Isaacs, Weschler’s Fine Art Specialist, said by email.

The auction also includes works from other consignors by artists Margaret Burroughs, Sam Gilliam, Lois Mailou Jones, and Charles Sebree, among a few others. There are 108 lots in the sale.

All of the works are displayed in a large gallery space on the second floor of Weschler’s. The Catletts are presented along one lengthy wall and on a couple of pillars in the middle of the room. It is a sight to see such a wide selection of the artist’s images from 1946 to 2001, on subjects spanning the arc of 20th century African American history and culture from slavery, civil rights, and black power and pride to portraits of African American women and families.

It is a sight to see such a wide selection of the Elizabeth Catlett’s images from 1946 to 2001, on subjects spanning the arc of 20th century African American history and culture.

In a press release, the auction house said: “Weschler’s is proud to auction these works in the city where many of the artists represented were educated and flourished. Washington D.C. has long been home to some of the greatest African American artists, and we are glad to share their work.” CT


TOP IMAGE: Lot 1: ELIZABETH CATLETT, “Sharecropper,” 1945 (linocut), numbered A/P 2. Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $5,000-7,000


For more on Elizabeth Catlett, consider “Art of Elizabeth Catlett” by Samella Lewis; Elizabeth Catlett, Sculpture: a Fifty-Year Retrospective, a monograph of her critically recognized sculpture; “Elizabeth Catlett: An American Artist in Mexico,” from the Jacob Lawrence Series on American Artists; and “Elizabeth Catlett: In the Image of the People,” which focuses on her “Negro Woman” series of 15 linoleum prints from 1946–47.


431832 Catlett - In Hariet Tubman I Helped Hundreds to Freedom - 1946
Lot 5: ELIZABETH CATLETT, “In Harriet Tubman I Helped Hundreds to Freedom,” 1946 (linocut), numbered 15/20, printed at Robert Blackburn’s workship, New York. Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $3,000-$5,000


431880 Catlett - Phyllis Wheatley - 1946
Lot 7: ELIZABETH CATLETT, “In Phyllis Wheatley I Proved Intellectual Equality in the Midst of Slavery,” 1946 (linocut), numbered 9/20, printed at Robert Blackburn’s workship, New York, 1989.


431841 Catlett - I Have Special Reservations 1946
Lot 8: ELIZABETH CATLETT, “I Have Special Reservations…,” 1946 (linocut), numbered 9/20, printed at Robert Blackburn’s workship, New York, 1989. Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $1,500-$2,500


431825 Catlett - My Right is a Future...- 1947
Lot 12: ELIZABETH CATLETT, “My Right is a Future of Equality with Other Americans,” 1947 (linocut in color), numbered 9/20, printed at Robert Blackburn’s workship, New York, 1989. Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $1,500-$2,500


431883 Catlett - Black Maternity - 1959
Lot 15: ELIZABETH CATLETT, “Black Maternity,” 1959 (lithograph), numbered 10/50. Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $1,500-$2,500


431881 Catlett - Angela Libra - 1972
Lot 21: ELIZABETH CATLETT, “Angela Libre,” 1972 (lithograph in color on silver foil), numbered 5/10. Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $1,500-$2,500


431856 Catlett - Girls - 1982
Lot 32: ELIZABETH CATLETT, “Girls,” 1982 (serigraph), numbered III/VIII A/P. Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $1,500-$2,500


431837 Catlett Madonna
Lot 33: ELIZABETH CATLETT, “Madonna,” 1982 (lithograph), numbered 160/180. Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $3,000-$5,000


431828 Catlett - Virginia - 1984
Lot 34: ELIZABETH CATLETT, “Virginia,” 1984 (ithograph and collage), numbered VII/X A/P. Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $3,000-$5,000


431849 Catlett - Singing Their Songs - 1992
Cover, Lot 55: ELIZABETH CATLETT, “Singing Their Songs,” 1992 (lithograph in color), numbered 48/99. Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $1,500-$2,000


431827 Catlett - Omage to the Panthers -  1993
Lot 58: ELIZABETH CATLETT, “Homage to the Panthers,” 1993 (Lithograph in color), numbered A/P 3/20. Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $3,000-$5000


431872 Catlett Domestic Worker - 1995
Lot 60: ELIZABETH CATLETT, “Domestic Worker,” 1995 (photolithograph), later edition, dated ’46-’95, numbered 5/6. Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $10,000-$15,000


431864 Catlett - Door of Justice - 2000
Lot 61: ELIZABETH CATLETT, “Door of Justice,” 2000 (lithograph in color), numbered 34/100. Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $1,000-$2,000


431814 Charles White - Black Messiah - 1941
Lot 64: CHARLES WHITE, “Black Messiah,” 1941 (lithograph), numbered 3/10 prints. Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $3,000-$5,000


431819 Biggers - Twins of Fall - 1975
Lot 68: JOHN BIGGERS, “Twins of Fall,” 1975 (lithograph), numbered 7/30. Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $3,000-$5,000


431815 Biggers - Black Family - 1986
Lot 70: JOHN BIGGERS, “Black Family,” 1986 (lithograph), numbered 30/50. Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $2,000-$4,000


431809 Bearden - Sorcerers Village - 1972
Lot 74: ROMARE BEARDEN, “Sorcerer’s Village,” 1972 (lithograph in color), numbered 116/125. Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $1,500-$2,500


431810 Bearden - Autumn of the Rooster - 1983
Lot 80: ROMARE BEARDEN, “Autumn of the Rooster,” 1983 (lithograph in color), numbered 74/175. Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $1,500-$2,500


431813 Jacob Lawrence - The Builders - 1974
Lot 81: JACOB LAWRENCE, “The Builders,” 1974 (lithograph in color), numbered 190/300. Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $4,000-$6,000


431417 Lois Mailou Jones Monte Carlo 1955
Lot 85: LOIS MAILOU JONES, “Monte Carlo,” 1955 (watercolor on board). Courtesy Weschler’s | Estimate $8,000-$12,000


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