Eldzier Cortor lived to nearly 100 years, and that was long enough for him to see a healthy increase of recognition for his accomplishments. He was born in Richmond, Virginia, and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. He was hired as an easel painter for the Work Projects Administration (WPA) and helped found Chicago’s famed South Side Community Art Center. He won prizes for works selected for the annual exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1945 and 1946. He also was awarded Rosenwald Grants in 1944 and 1945, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1949. After moving to New York, he began making prints at the Robert Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop. Elegant and attenuated figures are his favored subject.
Trilogy II and Trilogy II Verso are a fascinating pair in that Cortor left the plate in an acid bath long enough to remove large sections of the zinc plate, then printed both sides of the same etched plate. He printed Trilogy II as a frontal view and Trilogy II Verso from the back of the same plate. His composition, comprised of three figures and defined by the outline of the plate, provided an opportunity to create two views —a front and back view of his composition of women.