Vija Celmins

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Ocean, 1975 Cirrus 191c Vc75, Lithograph Ed. 75 17 X 20 In © Courtesy of Cirrus Gallery
Untitled (Ocean), 1972 Lithograph 6 X 42"
Ocean with Cross #1, 2005 Screenprint On Rives Textured Rag Paper © Courtesy of Joseph K. Levene Fine Art, Ltd.
Spider Web , 2009 17.4 X 19 In / 44.2 X 48.3 Cm © Courtesy of the artist & Hal Katzen Gallery
The Stars , 2005 Etching With Spitbite, Drypoint And Softground On Handmade Gampi Paper, Chine Colle To Somerset Paper; Accompanied By A Handprinted Deluxe Book Edition With Three Etchings And A Text In Letterpress By Eliot Weinberger, Wrap Around Cover Etching, In Clamsh 13.2 X 16.1 In / 33.5 X 40.9 Cm © Courtesy of the artist & Carolina Nitsch Contemporary Art
Amerique, 2009-2010 Aquatint, Engraving, Spit Bite Drypoint And Pencil 24 ½ X 18 ¼ Inches © Courtesy of the artist & SENIOR & SHOPMAKER GALLERY
Burning Man, 1966, McKee Gallery, NY © Vija Celmins 2011
Untitled (Web 3), 2002 Aquatint With Burnishing And Drypoint On Paper 51 X 61 Cm © Courtesy of the artist & Museum Ludwig Köln
Constellation Uccello, 1983 Four Color Aquatint And Etching 27 1/4 X 23 1/8 Inches © courtesy of the Susan Sheehan Gallery
Web #1 , 1999 Charcoal On Paper Support: 565 X 649 Mm. Artist Rooms Acquired Jointly With The National Galleries Of Scotland Through The D'offay Donation With Assistance From The National Heritage Memorial Fund And The Art Fund 2008 © Vija Celmins
Eraser , 1967 Acrylic On Balsa Wood 6 5/8 X 20 X 3 1/8 Inches © Collection Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; Gift of Avco Financial Services, Newport Beach
Untitled (Knife and Dish), 1964 Oil On Canvas 16" X 18" © Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)
Quick Facts
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.

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