Roman Opalka

French-born Polish, 1931–2011

358 followers

Roman Opalka

Bio

French-born Polish, 1931–2011

Followers
358
Auction results
Filter auction results to compare past lots by medium, size, and more. Note that auction prices vary based on market specifics at the time of the auction and may not be indicative of the current gallery market. To get the best sense of value, pair the artist’s auction results with their career highlights like exhibition history, gallery representation, and presence in museum collections. For more information on how auction pricing differs from gallery pricing, check out this article.
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Showing 53 results
Showing 53 results
Awaiting results
Opalka 1965 / 1 - 8, Detail 5462920 - 5480388, 1931-2011
Sold on Dec 5, 2020
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Artwork Info
Painting
acrylic on canvas
196 x 135 cm
Estimate
Realized Price
Price not available
Auction Sale
Dec 5, 2020
Christie's
Description
Roman Opalka (1931-2011) Opalka 1965 / 1 - 8, Detail 5462920 - 5480388 signé, titré et daté ‘"OPALKA 1965/1-8 DETAIL- 5462920 - 5480388"’ (au dos) acrylique sur toile 196 x 135 cm. Exécuté selon un programme artistique conçu en 1965. signed, titled and dated ‘"OPALKA 1965/1-8 DETAIL- 5462920 - 5480388"’ (on the reverse) acrylic on canvas 77 1/8 x 53 1/8 in. Executed according to an artistic program conceived in 1965.
Opalka 1965 / 1 - 8, Detail 5462920 - 5480388, 1931-2011
acrylic on canvas
Dec 5, 2020
Christie's
Awaiting results
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Artwork Info
Painting
196 x 135 cm
Estimate
Auction Sale
Dec 5, 2020
Christie's
Realized Price
Price not available
Description
Roman Opalka (1931-2011) Opalka 1965 / 1 - 8, Detail 5462920 - 5480388 signé, titré et daté ‘"OPALKA 1965/1-8 DETAIL- 5462920 - 5480388"’ (au dos) acrylique sur toile 196 x 135 cm. Exécuté selon un programme artistique conçu en 1965. signed, titled and dated ‘"OPALKA 1965/1-8 DETAIL- 5462920 - 5480388"’ (on the reverse) acrylic on canvas 77 1/8 x 53 1/8 in. Executed according to an artistic program conceived in 1965.
€560,000
Opalka 1965 / 1 - 8, Detail 5286842 – 5302004, 1931-2011
Sold on Oct 22, 2020
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Artwork Info
Painting
acrylic on canvas
196 x 135 cm
Estimate
Realized Price
€560,000
Auction Sale
Oct 22, 2020
Christie's
Description
Roman Opalka (1931-2011) Opalka 1965 / 1 - 8, Detail 5286842 – 5302004 signé, titré et daté '"OPALKA 1965 / 1 - 8 DETAIL 5286842 – 5302004"’ (au dos) acrylique sur toile 196 x 135 cm. Exécuté selon un programme artistique conçu en 1965 signed, titled and dated 'OPALKA 1965 / "1 - 8 DETAIL 5286842 – 5302004"’ (on the reverse) acrylic on canvas 77 1/8 x 53 1/8 in. Executed according to an artistic program conceived in 1965
Opalka 1965 / 1 - 8, Detail 5286842 – 5302004, 1931-2011
acrylic on canvas
Oct 22, 2020
Christie's
€560,000
Realized price
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Artwork Info
Painting
196 x 135 cm
Estimate
Auction Sale
Oct 22, 2020
Christie's
Realized Price
€560,000
Description
Roman Opalka (1931-2011) Opalka 1965 / 1 - 8, Detail 5286842 – 5302004 signé, titré et daté '"OPALKA 1965 / 1 - 8 DETAIL 5286842 – 5302004"’ (au dos) acrylique sur toile 196 x 135 cm. Exécuté selon un programme artistique conçu en 1965 signed, titled and dated 'OPALKA 1965 / "1 - 8 DETAIL 5286842 – 5302004"’ (on the reverse) acrylic on canvas 77 1/8 x 53 1/8 in. Executed according to an artistic program conceived in 1965
€67,500
Opalka 1965 / 1-8, Detail 3817670-3820342, 1931-2011
Sold on Dec 4, 2019
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Artwork Info
Work on Paper
ink on paper
33 x 24.2 cm
Estimate
Realized Price
€67,500
Auction Sale
Dec 4, 2019
Christie's
Description
Roman Opalka (1931-2011) Opalka 1965 / 1-8, Detail 3817670-3820342 signé et titré 'OPALKA "1965 / 1-8, Detail 3817670-3820342"' (au dos) encre sur papier 33 x 24.2 cm. Conçu en 1965. signed and titled 'OPALKA "1965 / 1-8, Detail 3817670-3820342"' (on the reverse) ink on paper 13 x 9 ½ in. Conceived in 1965.
Opalka 1965 / 1-8, Detail 3817670-3820342, 1931-2011
ink on paper
Dec 4, 2019
Christie's
€67,500
Realized price
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Artwork Info
Work on Paper
33 x 24.2 cm
Estimate
Auction Sale
Dec 4, 2019
Christie's
Realized Price
€67,500
Description
Roman Opalka (1931-2011) Opalka 1965 / 1-8, Detail 3817670-3820342 signé et titré 'OPALKA "1965 / 1-8, Detail 3817670-3820342"' (au dos) encre sur papier 33 x 24.2 cm. Conçu en 1965. signed and titled 'OPALKA "1965 / 1-8, Detail 3817670-3820342"' (on the reverse) ink on paper 13 x 9 ½ in. Conceived in 1965.
£791,250
1965/1-8 Detail 1330516 - 1348651, 1931-2011
Sold on Oct 4, 2019
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Artwork Info
Painting
acrylic on canvas
196 x 135cm
Estimate
Realized Price
£791,250
Auction Sale
Oct 4, 2019
Christie's
Description
Roman Opalka (1931-2011) _1965/1-_8 _Detail 1330516 - 1348651_ signed and titled 'OPALKA 1965/1-8 DETAIL-1330516-1348651' (on the reverse) acrylic on canvas 77 1/8 x 53 1/8in. (196 x 135cm.) Conceived in 1965
1965/1-8 Detail 1330516 - 1348651, 1931-2011
acrylic on canvas
Oct 4, 2019
Christie's
£791,250
Realized price
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Artwork Info
Painting
196 x 135cm
Estimate
Auction Sale
Oct 4, 2019
Christie's
Realized Price
£791,250
Description
Roman Opalka (1931-2011) _1965/1-_8 _Detail 1330516 - 1348651_ signed and titled 'OPALKA 1965/1-8 DETAIL-1330516-1348651' (on the reverse) acrylic on canvas 77 1/8 x 53 1/8in. (196 x 135cm.) Conceived in 1965
No artwork image
Price not available
OPALKA 1965/1 – ∞ DETAIL 5210331 - 5226270
Sold on Mar 8, 2018
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Artwork Info
Painting
acrylic on canvas
196.5 x 135.2 cm
Estimate
Realized Price
Price not available
Auction Sale
Mar 8, 2018
Phillips
Description
No artwork image
OPALKA 1965/1 – ∞ DETAIL 5210331 - 5226270
acrylic on canvas
Mar 8, 2018
Phillips
Price not available
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Artwork Info
Painting
196.5 x 135.2 cm
Estimate
Auction Sale
Mar 8, 2018
Phillips
Realized Price
Price not available
No artwork image
£37,500
OPALKA 1965/1 - ∞ DÉTAIL 2345774 - 2347926
Sold on Oct 6, 2017
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Artwork Info
Work on Paper
ink on paper
33 by 24 cm
Estimate
Realized Price
£37,500
Auction Sale
Oct 6, 2017
Sotheby's
Description
signed, titled and dated 1965/1-∞ on the reverse ink on paper 33 by 24 cm. 13 by 9 3/8 in.
No artwork image
OPALKA 1965/1 - ∞ DÉTAIL 2345774 - 2347926
ink on paper
Oct 6, 2017
Sotheby's
£37,500
Realized price
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Artwork Info
Work on Paper
33 by 24 cm
Estimate
Auction Sale
Oct 6, 2017
Sotheby's
Realized Price
£37,500
Description
signed, titled and dated 1965/1-∞ on the reverse ink on paper 33 by 24 cm. 13 by 9 3/8 in.
£632,750
1965/1-8 detail-1194480-1215202, 1931-2011
Sold on Oct 6, 2017
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Artwork Info
Painting
acrylic on canvas
196.5 x 135.2cm
Estimate
Realized Price
£632,750
Auction Sale
Oct 6, 2017
Christie's
Description
Roman Opalka (1931-2011) _1965/1-8 detail-1194480-1215202_ signed and titled 'OPALKA 1965/1-8 DETAIL-1194480-1215202' (on the reverse) acrylic on canvas 77 3/8 x 53 ¼in. (196.5 x 135.2cm.) Conceived in 1965
1965/1-8 detail-1194480-1215202, 1931-2011
acrylic on canvas
Oct 6, 2017
Christie's
£632,750
Realized price
Reveal more
Artwork Info
Painting
196.5 x 135.2cm
Estimate
Auction Sale
Oct 6, 2017
Christie's
Realized Price
£632,750
Description
Roman Opalka (1931-2011) _1965/1-8 detail-1194480-1215202_ signed and titled 'OPALKA 1965/1-8 DETAIL-1194480-1215202' (on the reverse) acrylic on canvas 77 3/8 x 53 ¼in. (196.5 x 135.2cm.) Conceived in 1965
Price not available
Sold on Oct 5, 2017
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Artwork Info
Painting
acrylic on canvas
Estimate
Realized Price
Price not available
Auction Sale
Oct 5, 2017
Sotheby's
Description
Roman Opalka’s conceptual journey is without precedent within twentieth-century art history: through his mission to paint every single number between one and infinity on a series of canvases – or ‘Details’ – the artist strove to give expression to the Infinite. This truly monumental task resulted in the creation of a series of works endowed with an elegant simplicity that reflect the highly philosophical and meditative character of the project, through calling the nature of infinity itself into question. Opalka enjoyed relationships of immense mutual influence and respect with the Italian artists of the Twentieth Century, primarily through his deep engagement with the ZERO group. ZERO was a movement of immense historical importance, founded in the late 1950s and presaging later developments in Conceptualism, Minimalism, and Land Art. Through his participation in the group, Opalka was able to collaborate and engage in a creative exchange with such Italian heavyweights as Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Enrico Castellani, and Agostino Bonalumi. Works such as OPALKA 1965/1 – ∞  Détail  3843982 – 3864277 attest to the febrile atmosphere of artistic dialogue and conceptual progression that these relationships engendered. One can also observe the influence that Opalka exerted over artists like Alighiero Boetti, who shared his preoccupation with numbers and sequencing and created works that were similarly focussed on the impossibility of comprehending the infinite. This work is one of only 233 examples of this size, which took a lifetime to complete. Other such works are held in the permanent collections of prestigious museums like the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the National Gallery, Berlin, and the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Japan. Opalka began his astonishing magnum opus in 1965, when he commenced painting the numbers one through to infinity on a series of canvases, a task the artist referred to as “a philosophical and spiritual image of the progression of time and of life and death” (Roman Opalka cited in: The Telegraph, Obituary, 26th August 2011, online resource). The numbers on each canvas progressed in horizontal rows from the upper left and concluded at the lower right corner, with each successive painting beginning where the previous one left off. As the integers mounted up their chromatic intensity waned as Opalka's brush was depleted of paint before being replenished once again to inscribe initially brighter numbers. The works are each labelled 1965/1-∞, Detail followed by the first and last number on the canvas, marking the year Opalka began his enterprise and, by signifying one to infinity, implicating the purely hypothetical nature of the Infinite. As a concept we are unable to truly imagine, Opalka succeeded in visualising the Infinite in the purest sense possible, through numerical delineations marking the inexorable passage of time. Although attaining infinity is a theoretical impossibility, Opalka’s painstaking attempt to transcribe every possible number that ever has - or shall - exist was epic in scope: a task that serves to broaden the mind and expand the mental horizons of all who contemplate the result. On attaining the milestone of a million painted digits in 1972, Opalka began photographing himself before each work: these portraits, which documented his process of ageing, became the means by which his ambitions of interminability were confronted by the inevitability of his own mortality. Although Opalka began by painting white numbers on a black background, in 1968 he changed to a grey background, a colour he believed to be more neutral, and in the early 1970s he decided to add one percent more white to this grey ground with each new 'Detail,’ the increasing whiteness of the paint being intended to signify the infinity that his numbers could never, ultimately, denote. Towards the end of this endeavour, in 2008, the canvases had become entirely white, rendering the on-going stream of numerals near invisible. Opalka’s astounding corpus compresses concepts of time and space into a single defined moment, an idea the artist discussed with reference to the very beginning of his project: “In my concept… the always finished part of my oeuvre dates from 1965: the sign 1, laid on the first Detail, there is already all” (Roman Opalka cited in: Christine Savinel, Jacques Roubaud and Bernard Noël, Eds., Roman Opalka, Paris 1996, p. 17). Within Opalka’s entire oeuvre, OPALKA 1965/1 – ∞  Détail  3843982 – 3864277 stands as an impressive record of the artist’s astonishing philosophical and creative feat: a unique and unsurpassed record of a constant striving towards the infinite, and correspondingly, of immortality itself.  
acrylic on canvas
Oct 5, 2017
Sotheby's
Price not available
Reveal more
Artwork Info
Painting
Estimate
Auction Sale
Oct 5, 2017
Sotheby's
Realized Price
Price not available
Description
Roman Opalka’s conceptual journey is without precedent within twentieth-century art history: through his mission to paint every single number between one and infinity on a series of canvases – or ‘Details’ – the artist strove to give expression to the Infinite. This truly monumental task resulted in the creation of a series of works endowed with an elegant simplicity that reflect the highly philosophical and meditative character of the project, through calling the nature of infinity itself into question. Opalka enjoyed relationships of immense mutual influence and respect with the Italian artists of the Twentieth Century, primarily through his deep engagement with the ZERO group. ZERO was a movement of immense historical importance, founded in the late 1950s and presaging later developments in Conceptualism, Minimalism, and Land Art. Through his participation in the group, Opalka was able to collaborate and engage in a creative exchange with such Italian heavyweights as Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Enrico Castellani, and Agostino Bonalumi. Works such as OPALKA 1965/1 – ∞  Détail  3843982 – 3864277 attest to the febrile atmosphere of artistic dialogue and conceptual progression that these relationships engendered. One can also observe the influence that Opalka exerted over artists like Alighiero Boetti, who shared his preoccupation with numbers and sequencing and created works that were similarly focussed on the impossibility of comprehending the infinite. This work is one of only 233 examples of this size, which took a lifetime to complete. Other such works are held in the permanent collections of prestigious museums like the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the National Gallery, Berlin, and the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Japan. Opalka began his astonishing magnum opus in 1965, when he commenced painting the numbers one through to infinity on a series of canvases, a task the artist referred to as “a philosophical and spiritual image of the progression of time and of life and death” (Roman Opalka cited in: The Telegraph, Obituary, 26th August 2011, online resource). The numbers on each canvas progressed in horizontal rows from the upper left and concluded at the lower right corner, with each successive painting beginning where the previous one left off. As the integers mounted up their chromatic intensity waned as Opalka's brush was depleted of paint before being replenished once again to inscribe initially brighter numbers. The works are each labelled 1965/1-∞, Detail followed by the first and last number on the canvas, marking the year Opalka began his enterprise and, by signifying one to infinity, implicating the purely hypothetical nature of the Infinite. As a concept we are unable to truly imagine, Opalka succeeded in visualising the Infinite in the purest sense possible, through numerical delineations marking the inexorable passage of time. Although attaining infinity is a theoretical impossibility, Opalka’s painstaking attempt to transcribe every possible number that ever has - or shall - exist was epic in scope: a task that serves to broaden the mind and expand the mental horizons of all who contemplate the result. On attaining the milestone of a million painted digits in 1972, Opalka began photographing himself before each work: these portraits, which documented his process of ageing, became the means by which his ambitions of interminability were confronted by the inevitability of his own mortality. Although Opalka began by painting white numbers on a black background, in 1968 he changed to a grey background, a colour he believed to be more neutral, and in the early 1970s he decided to add one percent more white to this grey ground with each new 'Detail,’ the increasing whiteness of the paint being intended to signify the infinity that his numbers could never, ultimately, denote. Towards the end of this endeavour, in 2008, the canvases had become entirely white, rendering the on-going stream of numerals near invisible. Opalka’s astounding corpus compresses concepts of time and space into a single defined moment, an idea the artist discussed with reference to the very beginning of his project: “In my concept… the always finished part of my oeuvre dates from 1965: the sign 1, laid on the first Detail, there is already all” (Roman Opalka cited in: Christine Savinel, Jacques Roubaud and Bernard Noël, Eds., Roman Opalka, Paris 1996, p. 17). Within Opalka’s entire oeuvre, OPALKA 1965/1 – ∞  Détail  3843982 – 3864277 stands as an impressive record of the artist’s astonishing philosophical and creative feat: a unique and unsurpassed record of a constant striving towards the infinite, and correspondingly, of immortality itself.  
£75,000
OPALKA 1965/1-8, Detail 1725527-1728670, 1931-2011
Sold on Oct 3, 2017
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Artwork Info
Work on Paper
ink on paper laid on cardboard
33 x 24cm
Estimate
Realized Price
£75,000
Auction Sale
Oct 3, 2017
Christie's
Description
Roman Opalka (1931-2011) OPALKA 1965/1-8, Detail 1725527-1728670 signed and titled 'OPALKA 1965/1-8 DETAIL 1725527-1728670' (on the reverse) ink on paper laid on cardboard 13 x 9 ½in. (33 x 24cm.)
OPALKA 1965/1-8, Detail 1725527-1728670, 1931-2011
ink on paper laid on cardboard
Oct 3, 2017
Christie's
£75,000
Realized price
Reveal more
Artwork Info
Work on Paper
33 x 24cm
Estimate
Auction Sale
Oct 3, 2017
Christie's
Realized Price
£75,000
Description
Roman Opalka (1931-2011) OPALKA 1965/1-8, Detail 1725527-1728670 signed and titled 'OPALKA 1965/1-8 DETAIL 1725527-1728670' (on the reverse) ink on paper laid on cardboard 13 x 9 ½in. (33 x 24cm.)
£56,250
1965/1 - 8 Détail - Carte de voyage 1679590-1682025 26, 1931-2011
Sold on Jun 30, 2016
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Artwork Info
Work on Paper
ink on paper
33 x 24cm
Estimate
Realized Price
£56,250
Auction Sale
Jun 30, 2016
Christie's
Description
Roman Opalka (1931-2011) _1965/1 - _8 _Détail - Carte de voyage 1679590-1682025 26_ signed, titled, and numbered ‘OPALKA 1965/1-8 DETAIL -1679590-1682025 26’ (on the reverse) ink on paper 13 x 9 ½in. (33 x 24cm.)
1965/1 - 8 Détail - Carte de voyage 1679590-1682025 26, 1931-2011
ink on paper
Jun 30, 2016
Christie's
£56,250
Realized price
Reveal more
Artwork Info
Work on Paper
33 x 24cm
Estimate
Auction Sale
Jun 30, 2016
Christie's
Realized Price
£56,250
Description
Roman Opalka (1931-2011) _1965/1 - _8 _Détail - Carte de voyage 1679590-1682025 26_ signed, titled, and numbered ‘OPALKA 1965/1-8 DETAIL -1679590-1682025 26’ (on the reverse) ink on paper 13 x 9 ½in. (33 x 24cm.)
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