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Meta Warrick Fuller

She was born in Philadelphia, PA.
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Born in Philadelphia in 1877, Fuller studied at the Pennsylvania School of Industrial Arts (now the Philadelphia Museum of Art). Upon graduation, she traveled to Paris, where she studied at the Academie Colarossi (sculpture) and Ecole des Beaux-Arts (drawing) and became a protégé of Auguste Rodin. She exhibited in Paris and won numerous awards for her work over her lifetime. She continued to exhibit her work until her last show at Howard University (Washington, D.C.) in 1961.

Fuller was the first African-American woman to receive a U.S. government commission when she was asked to create several dioramas depicting African-American historical events for the 1907 Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition. After marrying in 1909, she left her tools and art work in a Philadelphia warehouse with the intention of having them shipped to her in Massachusetts later. In 1910, a fire in the warehouse destroyed sixteen years of her work and left her so devastated that she didnâ??t not work for a several years and concentrated on her role as a wife and mother instead.

In 1913, W.E.B. Du Bois wrote to Meta asking her to contribute work to the State of New Yorkâ??s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Fuller purchased new sculpting tools and began creating a piece she named Emancipation Group. Meta was one of the first African-American artists to draw heavily on African themes and folktales and is often referred to as an important precursor to the Harlem Renaissance artistic movement.

Fuller exhibited at the New York Emancipation Exhibit in 1931. Later, the Boston Art Club and the Harmon Foundation also exhibited her works. Additionally, pieces can still be found at the Cleveland Museum. Metaâ??s works are still available and displayed at museums and in private collections across the country including the Boston Museum of Afro-American Art, The Harmon Foundation Collection at The National Archives in Washington, D.C., the Studio Museum of Harlem, Howard University, Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale, Washington, the Museum of Afro-American History in Boston, The San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts, and the Schomberg Center for Black Research and Culture-New York Public Library.

Fullerâ??s life was the saga of a courageous struggle of an African American, a woman and an artist. Metaâ??s work captures her spirit of concern for humanity as well as her willingness to expose the flaws of human nature. She was a pioneering and compelling artist that deserves continued recognition and respect. Meta Vaux Warrick died in 1968 in Framingham, Massachusetts.