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Catalog Data

Created by:
Elizabeth Catlett, Mexican and American, 1915 - 2012  Search this
Overall with Weight: 56 × 22 × 23 in., 460 lb. (142.2 × 55.9 × 58.4 cm, 208.7 kg)
Place used:
Washington, District of Columbia, United States, North and Central America
This sculpture by Elizabeth Catlett, Offering Life, was commissioned by the CarrAmerica Realty Corp. for Terrell Place, an office building in Washington, DC. The building was located on the site of the former Hecht’s Department Store. When the building was renovated in 2004, it was renamed Terrell Place, in commemoration of Mary Church Terrell’s leadership role in the fight to desegregate the store and other public buildings in Washington, D.C. Two other sculptures, Offering Education and Rejecting Injustice were also commissioned from Catlett for the space. The impetus behind the commission was to have artwork in the building’s public space that reflected its history as it intersected with the struggle for equality and civil rights. Each of the three bronze sculptures reflect Catlett’s long-standing interest in African American dignity, struggle, motherhood, and uplift. They all embody her slightly abstracted signature figural style.
This large bronze sculpture is in the slightly abstract form of a seated woman holding a child upon her lap. The figure is seated upright with the child upright on her lap. Her right hand holds the child's waist and her left hand rests on her thigh. Her knees and feet are slightly apart and placed squarely on the ground. She gazes straight ahead.
African American  Search this
Art  Search this
Motherhood  Search this
Women  Search this
Credit Line:
Gift from the Unit Owners Association of the Offices at Terrell Place, a Condominium, Beacon Capital Partners, LLC and AARP. Conservation for these sculptures received Federal support from the Collections Care Initiative Fund, administered by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative and the National Collections Program.
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
© 2020 Catlett Mora Family Trust/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Permission required for use. Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Visual Arts
On View:
NMAAHC (1400 Constitution Ave NW), National Mall Location, First Floor, 1 050
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture