Contemporary Print Market Report


Discover art for sale. Buy and sell prints & editions online by contemporary artist Julian Opie. Acclaimed for his pared-back images of people, Opie works across traditional mediums and innovative technology.

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Epitome of ‘Cool Britannia,’ Julian Opie’s highly stylised blend of Pop Art and minimalism has made him a key player in British contemporary art. The minimal style of his digital artworks was synonymous with the ‘Cool Britannia’ scene of the 1990s and 2000s. Today, his practice includes paintings, prints, sculpture, LED lights and more.

Walking in Sadang-dong in the rain by Julian Opie

Walking in Sadang-dong in the rain © Julian Opie 2014

1. £160,750 for Julian Opie's Walking In Sadang-Dong In The Rain

Opie has often used pedestrians as his models, and Walking in Sadang-Dong in the Rain is a perfect example of why. The crowded composition is offset by the fact that these people don’t seem to look at or even acknowledge each other - they allow for the artist to stare and visually record without any performativity. We can also see here Opie’s working technique, which involves simplifying photographs into their most basic elements, while retaining a level of individuality in each figure - just as we see in the different outfits and umbrellas held by the people here. Sold for £160,750 at the Seoul auction on March 23rd 2021, this painting epitomises Opie’s fascination with the balance between individuality and universality.

Woman Posing In Underwear.1 by Julian Opie

Woman Posing In Underwear. 1 © Julian Opie 2003

2. £158,813 for Julian Opie's Woman Posing In Underwear 1

Depicted in paintings, sculpture, prints and moving LED lights, Opie’s artworks of nudes and women undressing are among his most frequent themes. It is also the most popular subject with his collectors: Woman Posing In Underwear 1 stands as the most expensive work by Opie at auction. When it was offered at Christie’s in New York on 1 March 2018, it achieved over four times its high estimate. Previously owned by a California-based collector, the painting is also a rare example of Opie’s artwork offered outside of the UK – all his other top prices at auction were achieved in London sales – which suggests the artist’s growing international appeal and market.

Red Socks And Chanel Bag by Julian Opie

Red Socks And Chanel Bag © Julian Opie 2015

3. £93,689 for Julian Opie's Red Socks And Chanel Bag

Alongside nudes, Opie’s depictions of people walking or running are among his best-known works. The artist has captured pedestrians around the world, from London and New York to Melbourne and Seoul. Often hiring a photographer or asking his assistants to photograph people on the street, Opie is attracted to the unpredictability of the characters he will come across. “Each one throws up surprises and opportunities that I could not invent – a tattoo or a tasselled dress, a goatee or the logo on a T-shirt,” he has said.

Red Socks And Chanel Bag, painted in 2015, was donated by Opie to Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Auction in London on 2 July 2015, with proceeds going to benefit Ikon Gallery in Birmingham. The painting sold for over three times its high estimate, possibly aided by its provenance and charitable cause.

People 21 by Julian Opie

People 21 © Julian Opie 2017