Julian Opie – 1958

In a recent interview, Julian Opie talked about his personal art collection and how he was influenced by the portraits of Austrian Expressionist artist, Egon Schiele, and by the fluid lines found in Japanese woodcuts, many of which are part of his personal collection.

Those clear, dark lines of the woodcuts of Kitagawa Utamaro (c. 1753-1806) and Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) inspired Opie’s style. “I’ve always drawn using a line,” Opie said, in an interview with The Art Newspaper, “from the time that I was a teenager—it always seemed to me a very obvious, sensible and satisfying process to have my hand on a piece of paper holding a pencil or felt-tip pen and to look at the world, and to just allow that process to flow. It’s something that I can do and seems to come naturally to me. I can move my hand and look at your face and when I look down on the piece of paper, you’ll pretty much be there. That’s always a good party trick when you’re a teenager to impress people.”

Opie was born in London in 1958. He graduated from Goldsmiths College in 1982 and became associated with the New British Sculpture movement.

Julian Opie’s own works are being shown alongside works from his personal collection at the Newlands House Gallery in Petworth, England.  His collection includes everything from Roman sculpture to classical 17th-century portraits to work from contemporary artists. He also buys ambient music to use for his installations.

When asked what work he wished he had bought when he had the chance, Opie said, “One of Alex Katz’s small paintings. There were a set of these in the next door booth at an art fair many years ago and I didn’t have the courage.”

Alex Katz 1927-

This year’s Art Basel, the first live event since June 2019, recorded high attendance and brisk sales. A work by Alex Katz sold for around $2 million, a Keith Haring work sold for more than $5m and a Robert Rauschenberg painting garnered $4.5 million.

Although he was born in Brooklyn an has lived and worked in New York all of his life, Katz has a large following in Europe and Asia, as evidenced by his recent and upcoming shows in Paris, Belgium, Spain, Austria, the Netherlands, China and Korea.

The upcoming retrospective at the Guggenheim in New York, set to open next October, is a well-deserved tribute to an American artist who has always worked in his own style, even when he was overlooked or disparaged by art critics.

In a Wall Street Journal interview in 2019, Katz said, ” I had no idea I was going to be this good.”

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Julian Opie, Alex Katz or any of the other fine artists whose works are for sale at VFA.

The Art Newspaper. A Brush with…Julian Opie. Interview with Ben Luke. June 23, 2021.
Naomi Rea. What I Buy and Why: Artist Julian Opie on How Collecting Inspires His Own Practice and the Teensy Carl Andre Work He’s Afraid of Misplacing. September 6, 2021.
Tom McGlynn. Alex Katz. The Brooklyn Rail: Art Books. September 2021.
Catherine Hickley and Tom Seymour. ‘The Europeans are back and buying’: sales flow steadily at first Art Basel since the pandemic. The Art Newspaper. September 22, 2021.
Lane Florsheim. Alex Katz Had No Idea He Was Going to be This Good. The Wall Street Journal/Magazine. November 19, 2019.