Meta Warrick Fuller (1877-1968)

In Harlem Renaissance: Art of Black America, David Driskell says Meta Fuller was the first African American artist to heavily draw on African themes and folktales for subject matter. He goes on to say that her sculpture titled Ethiopia Awakening “anticipated the spirit and style of the Harlem Renaissance [and] symbolized the emergence of the New Negro-whom Alain Locke was not to acclaim as an established member of black American society until 1925.”

Fuller studied art at the Pennsylvania Museum and School for Industrial Arts (which later became the Philadelphia College of Art and is now known as the University of the Arts, Philadelphia). After graduating, she traveled to Paris, France, where she studied drawing and sculpture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts for three years. And, according to Driskell, she also studied with August Rodin during her stay in Paris.

Fuller’s work is in the collections of Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, Massachusetts; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York City; Howard University Art Gallery, Washington DC; and the Museum of Afro-American History, Boston, Massachusetts.