Günther Förg (1952-2013)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more Property from a Danish Corporate Collection
Günther Förg (1952-2013)


Günther Förg (1952-2013)
signed and dated 'Förg 1999' (on the reverse)
acrylic on lead on wood
118 1/8 x 78 ¾in. (300 x 200cm.)
Executed in 1999
Commissioned by the present owner.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
VAT rate of 20% is payable on hammer price and buyer's premium
Post lot text
This work is recorded in the archive of Günther Förg as no. WVF.99.B.0480.
We thank Mr. Michael Neff from the Estate of Günther Förg for the information he has kindly provided on this work.

Lot Essay

Over three metres tall and two metres wide, this colossal work by Günther Förg is an enrapturing example of the artist’s significant and distinctive lead paintings. A singular line of red sizzles against a bubbling lead ground, its oxidisation caustically smothering the surface in unique patterning. The fiery acrylic vertical stroke vibrates against the abyss of blue-grey lead like one of Barnett Newman’s zips, but rather than aiming for a transcendentalism, Förg revels in a purity of abstraction that heightens the importance of the support. Thus, the lead becomes an intrinsic abstract character, rather than a vessel for expressive geometries. In one of his rare interviews, the artist professed that ‘I like very much the qualities of lead – the surface, the heaviness. Some of the paintings were completely painted, and you only experience the lead at the edges; this gives the painting a very heavy feeling - it gives the colour a different density and weight. In other works the materials would be explicitly visible as grounds. I like to react on things, with the normal canvas you often have to kill the ground, give it something to react against. With the metals you already have something - its scratches, scrapes’ (G. Förg, quoted in D. Ryan, Talking Painting, Karlsruhe 1997, http:/www.david-ryan.co.uk/Gunther0Forg. html [accessed 2 September 2017]).

Within the context of an interior, this colossal heaviness dons an almost architectonic role, interacting with the space around the metal and interplaying with other features of the room, furthering the viewer’s awareness of the immediate space. In an essay discussing the properties of Förg’s painting, Bonnie Clearwater suggested that ‘the large areas of exposed lead reflect the environment and ambient light’ which contrast with Newman and Mark Rothko’s ensnarement and contemplative confinement of the viewer’s attention within the internality of the picture plane (B. Clearwater, ‘Günther Förg: Beyond Painting’, in Günther Förg: Painting/Sculpture/Installation, exh. cat., Newport Harbour, 1989). Whilst resonating with the abstract formal language of expressionist painters, Förg’s conceptual approach departs from the spiritual approach of Newman and Rothko. Aware that all modes of abstraction and explanatory interpretations have been exhausted, he favours a purist appreciation of its visual language, whilst allowing chance and time to intercede in the chemical manipulation of the metallic surface. Confirming that, for him, ‘abstract art today is what one sees and nothing more’, Förg allows us to marvel at the intensity of the material itself, adorned by a vertical intervention that emphasises the monolithic solemnity of a metallic purism. (G. Förg, quoted in quoted in Günther Förg, Paintings on Lead, exh. cat., Thomas Dane Gallery, London, 2006, p. 6)

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