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 Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller  (1877 - 1968)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: sculpture-figure, illustration

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
The Water Boy
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A sculptor who explored her African-American roots, Meta Fuller created emotion-packed work with strong social commentary, and became a forerunner of the Black Renaissance, a movement promoting African-American art.

She came from a comfortable middle-class family in Pennsylvania and won a scholarship to the Pennsylvania Museum & School of Industrial Art (PMSIA, now The University of the Arts College of Art and Design) in 1894.  In 1898, she received her diploma and teacher's certificate.  She stayed on through the 1899 school year to do an additional year of work. She then earned another scholarship, this time to study in Paris, but she encountered much prejudice, especially with lodging, when white students refused to be housed with her. 

However, the overall Paris art scene was more friendly, and she developed her skills at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and the Academie Colarrossi.  Auguste Rodin, foremost French sculptor, admired her work, and she earned a reputation for poignant, haunting figures such as one called "Secret Sorrow" (Man Eating His Heart).

Following her return from Paris, she attended PMSIA again in 1903-04 and won a prize for pottery work.  In general, though, she was not accepted as she had been in Europe because her themes were too rough and realistic for American taste.

She married neurologist and psychologist Dr. Soloman Fuller from Liberia, and they raised a family in Framingham, Massachusetts.  In 1910, she had a severe setback to her career when a warehouse with much of her artwork was destroyed by fire.  But she continued to sculpt, working until the year before her death in 1968.

Sources include:
American Women Artists
by Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein
Additional information courtesy of Sara MacDonald, Public Services Librarian, The University of the Arts, whose sources are PMSIA commencement programs, annual reports, and alumni newsletters.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Meta Fuller is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Black American Artists

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