Artist Profile

Rudi Gopas Investment Artist

Born 1913, Died 1983

Rudi Gopas was born in Lithuania and studied at the Kannas Art School from 1933-38. After World War II, he migrated to New Zealand, settling in Dunedin before moving to Christchurch. He taught at the Canterbury University School of Fine Arts from 1959 until 1977 and introduced his students to his own form of German expressionist realism. As a teacher he was a leading personality and controversial figure in Canterbury: to his students he advocated spontaneity, the intuitive and the experimental in art and despised the academic; his early idols were Van Gogh, Matisse and Gauguin. Clairmont, Trusttum, Harris and Fomison were taught and strongly influenced by the charismatic painting teacher.

In the 1950s his art represented a form of expressionist realism, within the convention of plein air studies using particular subjects as a starting point. However in the 1960s he moved towards abstract expressionism and increasingly freed himself from defined subject matter and spatial relationships. His work became increasingly larger, bolder, vigorous and more experimental. He was a powerful colourist and used a rich and varied palette. A use of highly saturated colours and intensity of brushwork defines the art of Rudi Gopas.

Gopas' art represented a personal interpretation of the philosophic teachings in eastern religions that dealt with man's emergence and nirvana. He always had a strong interest in astronomy and his later works refer to the earth, the universe and the precarious nature of life with sinister, apocolyptic overtones.

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