Sept. 9 Art Minute: Vija Celmins, ‘Untitled (Ocean)’

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Vija Celmins (American, born 1938), Untitled (Ocean). Lithograph, 1975. 16 ½ x 20 1/8 inches. Frederick B. and Kate L. Shoemaker Fund, 1976.64. Wolfe Mezzanine

Vija Celmins (American, born 1938), Untitled (Ocean). Lithograph, 1975. 16 ½ x 20 1/8 inches. Frederick B. and Kate L. Shoemaker Fund, 1976.64. Wolfe Mezzanine

Celmins’ meticulous renderings of the natural environment in a reduced palette of gray represent the physical world at its most impersonal and neutral. Though her elemental views of vast space resist romantic notions of nature, they nevertheless retain an inherent elusive mystery and poetic resonance. Untitled (Ocean) is one of four lithograph scenes that Celmins made from pencil drawings of a day sky (Sky), a night sky (Galaxy), and an area of rocky desert earth (Desert). As exemplified by Ocean, Celmins’ remarkable attention to detail imbues her subject matter with a sense of tranquility and stillness.

Read more about the framing of Untitled (Ocean) and numerous other works on paper from the Museum’s collection at A Good Frame of Mind, the American Frame blog.


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