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Born in Paris in 1928 to Russian parents, Elliott Erwitt spent his childhood in Milan, then emigrated to the United States, via France, with his family in 1939. As a teenager living in Hollywood, he developed an interest in photography and worked in a commercial darkroom before experimenting with photography at Los Angeles City College. In 1948 he moved to New York and exchanged janitorial work for film classes at the New School for Social Research.

John Baldessari created this print for Counter Editions in 2009. The print is a combination of the imagery from the installation Brain/Cloud—part of his retrospective exhibition at Tate Modern. Palm trees and clouds are recurring motifs in Baldessari's work, and having lived and worked in California for most of his life Brain/Cloud (With Seascape and Palm Tree) could be seen as an image from the memory of a quintessentially Californian conceptual artist.