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Artist

Vija Celmins (1938-)

Title

Heater

Date

1964

Medium

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

Overall: 47 9/16 × 48 in. (120.8 × 121.9 cm)

Credit line

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from the Contemporary Painting and Sculpture Committee

Accession number

95.19

Object Label

From the beginning of her artistic career, Vija Celmins's art has been concerned with a meticulous representation of objects and the natural world, devoid of human presence. This early painting, Heater, was made when Celmins was a graduate student at UCLA and engaged in a methodical depiction of the contents of her studio, recording the physical condition of the objects and the space around them with precise attention to detail. Painted in a highly realistic fashion, the heater appears to radiate warmth from its glowing coils. Isolated against a field of grey, the heater is separated from its physical context, rendering it neutral and almost abstract.

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