Contemporary Print Market Report
Julian Opie: Ruth Smoking 4 - Signed Print

Ruth Smoking 4
Signed Print

Julian Opie


This estimate blends recent public auction records with our own private sale data and network demand.

Screenprint, 2006
Signed Print Edition of 50
H 121cm x W 85cm

Critical Review

An important aspect for Opie in creating the commissioned portraits of Ruth, an art collector living in Geneva, was the fact that the sitter smoked and had long smooth hair. The element of smoking offered Opie the opportunity to animate this image with wisps of rising smoke in further iterations of the subject, thus allowing him to represent a sense of time through the static portrait.

Inspired by the woodblock prints of Japanese artist Kitagawa Utamaro, as well as early Renaissance painters such as Giovanni Bellini and Fra Angelico, Opie deliberately frames these images of Ruth as three-quarter length portraits to place his work in a historical, painterly context. In referencing historical, classic poses through the medium of computer drawing programmes and photography, Opie aims to distance model and viewer, placing the model in a fictional framework. This fictional role is then recognised as a type by the viewer, allowing for a multitude of interpretations.

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