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Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller

Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller (/ˈmiːtə ˈvaʊ/ MEE-tə VOW; born Meta Vaux Warrick, June 9, 1877 – March 18, 1968) was an African-American artist notable for celebrating Afrocentric themes. At the fore of the Harlem Renaissance, Warrick was known for being a poet, painter, and sculptor of the black American experience. At the turn of the 20th century, she had achieved a reputation as a well-known sculptor in Paris, before returning to the United States. Warrick was a protegée of Auguste Rodin, and has been described as "one of the most imaginative Black artists of her generation." Through adopting a horror-based figural style and choosing to depict events of racial injustice, like the lynching of Mary Turner, Warrick used her platform to address the societal traumas of African-Americans.

Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 9, 1877. Her parents were Emma (née Jones) Warrick, an accomplished wig maker and beautician for upperclass white women, and William H. Warrick, a successful barber and caterer. Her father owned several barber shops and her mother owned her own beauty salon. Warrick was, in fact, named after Meta Vaux, the daughter of Senator Richard Vaux, one of her mother's customers. Her maternal grandfather, Henry Jones, was a successful caterer in the city. Both of her parents were considered to have influential positions in African-American society.

Her family's class status was a special privilege that was afforded to them through their talent and their location. After an influx of free blacks began making a home in Philadelphia, the available jobs were generally physically hard and low-paying. Only a few people were able to find desirable jobs as ministers, physicians, barbers, teachers, and caterers. During the Reconstruction, due to racism, legalized racial segregation laws, including Jim Crow laws limited social progress of African Americans into the 20th century. Despite this, Warrick's parents were able to find creative success amongst the "vibrant political, cultural, and economic center" the African American community of Philadelphia had established.

Due to her parent's success, she was given access to various cultural and educational opportunities. Warrick trained in art, music, dance and horseback riding. Warrick's art education and art influences began at home, nurtured from childhood by her older sister Blanche, who studied art, and visits to Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with her father, who was interested in sculpture and painting. Her older sister, who later became a beautician like their mother, kept clay that Meta was able to use to create art. She was enrolled in 1893 in the Girls' High School in Philadelphia, where she studied art as well as academic courses. Warrick was among the few gifted artists selected from the Philadelphia public schools to study art and design at J. Liberty Tadd's art program at the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art in the early 1890s.

Her brother and grandfather entertained and fascinated her with endless horror stories. These influences partly shaped her sculpture, as she eventually developed as an internationally trained artist known as "the sculptor of horrors."

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Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller Artworks
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