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Vija Celmins

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Riga, Latvia

Birth year

Lives in
New York City

Works in
New York City


Vija Celmins is an American artist. She immigrated to the United States with her family from Latvia when she was ten years old.

Celmins work includes oil painting, charcoal and pencil drawing, printmaking and sculpture. Her early work bears interesting relationships with that of her contemporary, Gerhard Richter, the German painter. The early paintings share Richter's slightly blurred photo-realist style, and some were executed with no colour, just using black and white and greys made from mixing black and white paint.

Celmins is now internationally known for her later works which are often intensely realistic paintings and drawings. Celmins has also worked with print media since the early 1960s, again meticulously rendering details of the natural environment. Celmins's work demonstrates a remarkably close engagement with the natural world mediated by photography. Celmins has said her images dispel romantic notions of the sublime in nature.

In the late 1960s, Celmins started drawing more, mainly working with graphite pencil. Her subjects became increasingly selective until her work became almost entirely images of the surface of the ocean, night skies (with stars), and the surface of the desert, with small stones and pebbles rendered in great detail.

Recent Exhibits

Vija Celmins participated in these exhibits:

Sep, 2015 Reflections, Light, and Form
John Berggruen Gallery
Apr, 2015 The Blue of Distance
Aspen Art Museum
Oct, 2014 Les Habitants
Fondation Cartier
MIT List Visual Arts Center
Jul, 2014 Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950
Mudam Luxembourg
May, 2014 Multiplicity
Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
Click here to see all exhibits for Vija Celmins
Exhibited with these artists
Exhibited at these venues
Vija Celmins has Exhibited at these venues:

John Berggruen Gallery Aspen Art Museum
Fondation Cartier MIT List Visual Arts Center
Mudam Luxembourg Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
University of New Mexico Harwood Museum of Art Phoenix Art Museum
DODGE Gallery Senior & Shopmaker Gallery
Kunstraum Kreuzberg / Bethanien Blanton Museum of Art
McKenzie Fine Art George Adams Gallery
Cirrus Gallery Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Kohn Gallery
Whitney Museum of American Art New Orleans Museum of Art
L&M Arts, Los Angeles Tate Britain
Arkansas Art Center-Museum of Art Jack Rutberg Fine Arts
Cantor Arts Center Carnegie Museum of Art
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art SFMOMA - San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Martin-Gropius-Bau Whitechapel Gallery
601Artspace Walker Art Center
MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) Hammer Museum
Norton Simon Museum La Biennale di Venezia (Venice Biennale)
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego-La Jolla Museum Ludwig Köln
LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art Centre Pompidou
Lehmann Maupin - Chrystie Street Jason McCoy Gallery
MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) at Grand Ave. Brooklyn Museum of Art
carriage trade MOCA Geffen Contemporary
University of New Mexico Art Museum Center for the Arts (Main Campus) Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University
Julie Saul Gallery Altman Siegel Gallery
Fraenkel Gallery Pilgrim Art Center
OUAG - Oakland University Art Gallery MoMA PS1
Girls' Club San Jose Museum of Art
Hayward Gallery Leslie Sacks Contemporary
Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery Hunter College/Times Square Gallery
Parrish Art Museum Jim Kempner Fine Art
McKee Gallery Western Project
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