Vija Celmins was born in Riga, Latvia in 1938. Celmins immigrated to the United States with her family when she was ten years old, settling in Indiana. She received a BFA from the John Herron Institute in Indianapolis, and later earned her MFA in painting from the University of California, Los Angeles. Celmins received international attention early on for her renditions of natural scenes—often copied from photographs that lack a point of reference, horizon, or discernable depth of field. Armed with a nuanced palette of blacks and grays, Celmins renders these limitless space—seascapes, night skies, and the barren desert floor—with an uncanny accuracy, working for months on a single image.