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Renee Deanne Ater
University of Maryland, College Park (College Park, MD 20742-5141)
Meta Warrick Fuller: Public Sculpture and Private Vision

Meta Warrick Fuller (1877-1968) created sculptures that reveal her concern and interaction with the pressing cultural and political issues of her day including emancipation, suffrage, immigration, peace, and anti-lynching. I seek funding to support the completion of my book on Fuller. My project places Fuller within the important cultural and political context of her times. I explore how her art played a role in formulating black identity and in conceptualizing civic nationalism through visual means. My project resituates Fuller in the complicated historical past that she occupied, shaped by her identities as an African American, a woman, an artist, a wife and mother, a Victorian, and member of the elite W.E.B. Du Bois called the "Talented Tenth." My work embraces Fuller's biography but moves beyond it to incorporate Fuller's art as a way to access her complicated role as artist and citizen in the period from 1907 to 1921. My project addresses two important questions to Fuller's art: "what do the sculptures reveal to us of the artist's convictions?" and "what do the sculptures tell us about the conflict between civic nationalism and the formulation of black identity in the early twentieth century?" My study considers why Fuller's work was important during her day and why her art continues to resonate in the present. I offer a conceptual framework that allows Fuller to exist in her own right.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2004 – 7/31/2005