This estimate blends recent public auction records with our own private sale data and network demand.
Signed Print Edition of 20
H 58cm x W 94cm
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Joe Syer, Head of Urban & Contemporary Art
The Gallery Staff 2 is a print from Julian Opie’s The Gallery Staff series from 2010 that shows five silhouetted figures printed on transparent glass. Each figure holds a pose in profile, as though frozen in action. The figures appear to be carrying out individual tasks, none of them conversing or interacting with one another.
The Gallery Staff 2 explicitly engages with the 19th century art historical tradition of silhouette portraiture, led by artist Auguste Edouart, whereby the new middle classes would commission family groups or individual portraits to record a moment in time. Opie has a strong interest in noticing silhouettes everywhere and has said of the genre, “It is one of the most common forms of drawing around, certainly in that period from late 18th to early 20th century. It’s so common it has become boring, and it’s kind of boring anyway in the sense that it does not stray much from reality.”
This print is indicative of Opie’s interest in rendering his figures anonymous and taking part in mundane tasks in a way that explores the act of looking and representation itself. Normally seen sitting next to a painting in a gallery, Opie has enclosed these figures inside the picture frame to invite the viewer to question how we look at people every day. The mundanity of both subject and the way in which they are depicted may also allude to the mundanity of the job they are doing.