Günther Förg (1952-2013)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF MICHAEL STICH
Günther Förg (1952-2013)


Günther Förg (1952-2013)
signed and dated 'Förg 90' (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
114 1/8 x 114 1/8in. (290 x 290cm.)
Painted in 1990
Galerie Fahnemann, Berlin.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Galerie Fahnemann (ed.), Bilder und Zeichnungen aus den Jahren 1990 und 1991 von Günther Förg, Berlin 1999 (illustrated, p. 11).
Gent, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Günther Förg, 1991 (illustrated, p. 130). This exhibition later travelled to Leipzig, Museum der Bildenden Künste.
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.
Post lot text
This work is recorded in the archive of Günther Förg as no. WVF.90.B.0454. We thank Mr. Michael Neff from the Estate of Günther Förg for the information he has kindly provided on this work.

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Tessa Lord
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Lot Essay

Stretching nearly three metres in height and width, the present work is a monumental painting on canvas by Günther Förg. Executed in 1990, it comes from the collection of the German tennis player Michael Stich, who won the men’s singles title at Wimbledon the following year. Consisting of three thick horizontal strips in red and orange, the work demonstrates the bold painterly language for which Förg is celebrated. Conjuring Barnett Newman’s ‘zip’ paintings, Mark Rothko’s colour fields and Blinky Palermo’s Stoffbilder, his works seek to challenge the lofty spiritual discourse surrounding mid-twentieth-century abstraction. As demonstrated elsewhere in his lead paintings, Förg sought to emphasise the physical quality of his supports: for him, the picture plane was not a vehicle for transcendence, but instead a real, material presence. Operating in critical dialogue with his forebears, Förg believed that abstraction was no longer a language that needed to be defended, extolled and theorised, but – in the post-modern era – simply one mode of picture-making among many others. ‘Newman and Rothko attempted to rehabilitate in their works a unity and an order that for them had been lost’, the artist has explained. ‘… For me, abstract art today is what one sees and nothing more’ (G. Förg, quoted in Günther Förg: Painting / Sculpture / Installation, exh. cat., Newport Harbour Art Museum, Newport Beach, 1989, p. 6). Almost architectural in scale, the present work speaks directly to this notion, celebrating paint, colour, form in their purest states.

Born in 1952, Förg studied at the Academy of Fine Art, Munich, where he began his early series of grey and black monochromes. Coming to prominence during the 1980s, he abandoned painting for much of the decade, focusing instead on photography which he felt brought him ‘closer to reality’. By the late 1980s, however, he began to return to his original medium, harnessing a number of different supports including wood, copper and bronze as well as lead. These volatile, textured media allowed him to engage with paint afresh, relishing its unpredictable interactions with their raw physical surfaces. For Förg, such experiments were liberating, confirming his belief that paint had always – at heart – been a material rather than a metaphysical activity. ‘Really, painting should be sexy’, he explained. ‘It should be sensual. These are things that will always escape the concept. I think painting is a resilient practice; if you look through the history of painting it doesn’t change so much and we always see it in the present. It is still now’ (G. Förg, quoted in D. Ryan, ‘Talking Painting: Interview with Günther Förg Karlsruhe 1997, http://www.david-ryan.co.uk/Gunther%20Forg.html [accessed 6 September 2019]). Transforming plain canvas into something elemental, tactile and alluring, Untitled demonstrates this conviction in action.

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