Explosion at Sea

Dark object on the open sea with white smoke billowing up from it.

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  • Dark object on the open sea with white smoke billowing up from it.

Date:

1966

Artist:

Vija Celmins
American, born Latvia, 1938

About this artwork

Explosion at Sea belongs to a group of paintings by Vija Celmins on the themes of war, technology, and devastation. In the mid-1960s, the artist began to use photographs from books, magazines, and newspapers found at secondhand stores and yard sales as the point of departure for her work. After locating a wealth of material on World War II—a conflict that was the backdrop of her childhood in Latvia—Celmins employed subtle layers of precise brushstrokes to construct a detailed image of an attack on an aircraft carrier. The resulting painting, like most of her works of this moment, creates a disturbing contrast between the intimacy of the format and brushwork and the haunting seriousness of the theme.

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Contemporary Art

Artist

Vija Celmins

Title

Explosion at Sea

Origin

United States

Date

1966

Medium

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

34.3 × 59.7 cm (13 1/2 × 23 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Lannan Foundation

Reference Number

1997.138

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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