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Narratives of African American Art and Identity

Meta Warrick Fuller

Pietà, c. 1930

Bronze

6" x 5" x 5"


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Pietà

Meta Warrick Fuller was one of a handful of academically trained African American artists who studied both in America and Europe around the turn of the century. Fuller's work featuring black themes is generally considered a prelude to the Harlem Renaissance in its celebration of the black physique and African and African American cultures. Philadelphia-born Fuller studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia as well as in Paris at L'École des Beaux Arts and Académie Colarossi, where the presence of a black American female was a rarity. While in Paris, Fuller met sculptor Auguste Rodin, whose influence was principal in the development of her work. Scholars have called Fuller's work macabre, expressive, and emotionally intense. Fuller, active in her church during the 1930s and 1940s, frequently explored religious themes in sculpture. The traditional Christian theme of the Pietà embodies the drama of human despair and is deftly communicated by Fuller in her small bronze Pietà of the 1930s.   A. L. C.

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