VIJA CELMINS "WHALE" ENGRAVING, 1990

Born in Riga, Latvia in 1938, Vija Celmins is one of the most accomplished living American artists. Her impressive and dynamic oeuvre resists merging with any art-historical "ism" or school.

Celmins established her practice in the 1960s in Los Angeles and was one of few women who were recognized in the LA art scene during that time. And while she is sometimes associated with LA artists, such as Ed Ruscha, she has been based in New York City for several decades.  

Throughout Celmins' work, we see a patient and obsessive exploration of motifs from nature; luminous oceans, textured deserts, dense clouds, lunar landscapes, spiderwebs and skies full of stars. 

"Whale" is an elegant example of Celmins’ interest in nature, especially waterscapes. Celmins presents images of nature as a way of understanding human consciousness in relation to lived experiences. This engraving shows Celmins’ frequent removal of horizon or centre for the image.

"Whale" was created for the book "A Bestiary" by Bradford Morrow (b. 1951). In Morrow's fable, a splash of the whale's tail leads to the creation of Earth. Celmin's immortalizes this fantastical fictional moment with "Whale". 

Since the ancient world, bestiaries have been used to catalog and describe collective knowledge on creatures and other natural elements (i.e. rocks). Illustrated bestiaries grew in popularity during the Middle Ages, often pairing the animal with a moral lesson. This reflected the allegorical Christian belief that each living thing had its own special meaning, and reiterated the symbolic language of animals used in Western Christian art. 

Bradford Morrow (b. 1951) is a decorated American novelist and poet and recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction. Morrow began writing his own bestiary featuring real and imagined creatures (like unicorns) alongside often-overlooked aspects of nature, like plankton. Morrow collaborated with 18 contemporary American artists who created artworks based on the animals in his manuscript.

Participating artists included Joel Shapiro, Erich Fischl, Kiki Smith and Richard Tuttle. Working at Grenfell Press, the artists used traditional printmaking including wood cuts, linoleum cuts, engravings and pochoir. The result of this collaboration is gorgeously written prose accompanied by stunning works of art, as diverse in their style and beauty as the animals themselves.

Click here to see Vija Celmins' second contribution to "A Bestiary"

Questions about this piece? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720

"Whale"

(From the book Bestiary by Bradford Morrow)

USA, 1990

Wood engraving on Somerset wove paper

Signed and numbered by the artist on the colophon page

From an edition of 100

5.5"W 5"H (image) 
                 
11"W 15"H  (sheet)

Excellent condition

Publisher: The Grenfell Press, New York

"Whale" in the book Bestiary by Bradford Morrow (New York: Grenfell Press, 1990)

- Where does the inventory ship from?
Our inventory is divided between New York and Toronto. 

- Where do you ship to?
We can ship anywhere. Typically when we ship within North America we prefer to use FedEx Ground. To Europe, Asia and beyond we generally use DHL. Occasionally we use CanadaPost, but will notify the client if this is the best option. 

- How much does it cost to ship?
For shipments within North America, we typically charge a flat rate fee. Many items on our site will list the rate. For shipping outside of North America, we can easily provide a quote and will look for the most efficient and economical option.

Most of the items on our site can be easily shipped internationally.

Occasionally we will recommend that an artwork be removed from its frame for shipping. Larger framed works are typically framed with plexiglass. We export over 80% of what we sell, so we are comfortable shipping anywhere. 

- Are there additional taxes or fees?
When a work is valued above $2,500 usd there is a possibility of tax of 0.35%, but this is applied sporadically. There can similarly be an additional fee for customs brokerage and this can range from $20 - $65. US Taxes, duties and customs brokerage are not included in our flat rate shipping. However most of our shipments to the US enter without any additional fees. 

- Do you provide a certificate of authenticity?
Yes, we guarantee everything we sell. We can provide both a digital and printed version of our certificate of authenticity. 

What is your return policy?
- Caviar20 wants you to be 100% satisfied with your purchase. We have a 7 day no-questions full refund return policy for your purchase. Shipping charges are non-refundable. Return shipping is the responsibility of the customer. After 8 days returns are given a credit note. There is no expiration for our credit notes.

You may also like