GÜNTHER FÖRG (1952-2013)
GÜNTHER FÖRG (1952-2013)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
GÜNTHER FÖRG (1952-2013)


GÜNTHER FÖRG (1952-2013)
signed, inscribed and dated 'Förg 88 151⁄88' (on the reverse)
colour pigment and shellac on lead on wood
94 1⁄2 x 63 1⁄4in. (240 x 160.5cm.)
Executed in 1988
Galerie Hans Mayer, Düsseldorf.
Jablonka Galerie, Cologne.
Private Collection, USA.
Anon. sale, Christie's New York, 13 November 1991, lot 253.
Acquired at the above sale 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.
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Post lot text
This work is recorded in the archive of Günther Förg as No. WVF.88.B.0477.
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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Lot Essay

Standing nearly two and a half metres in height, Untitled is a monumental early example of Günther Förg’s acclaimed lead paintings. Created in 1988—the year of his first exhibition in the United States—it marks his triumphant return to painting after spending much of the decade immersed in photography and sculpture. In the present work, a vast vermillion ground is sliced by the natural patina of the lead support, a shimmering, silvery strip. Förg chose to apply his pigments to a caustic leaded surface, producing an effulgent, spectacular reaction through which paint’s materiality could be explored and exploited. Using lead, the artist explained, gave ‘the colour a different density and weight ... 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). Oxidising naturally, the lead generates its own abstract depths, dappling Untitled with lustrous patterns that counterbalance the rigid bands of lead.

While Förg’s compositions may appear to resemble those of Colour Field artists such as Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, works such as Untitled reject any claim to transcendence. Indeed, Förg deliberately distanced himself from the spirituality of the Abstract Expressionists, explaining that while they ‘attempted to rehabilitate in their works a unity and an order that for them had been lost ... for me, abstract art today is what one sees and nothing more’ (G. Förg, quoted in Günther Förg: Painting Sculpture Installation, exh. cat. Newport Harbor Art Museum, California 1989, p. 6). He instead aligned himself with a generation of artists for whom abstraction needed no defence. It was simply one visual idiom amongst many. Free from any metaphysical aspiration, works such Untitled exalt in their unpredictable, tactile qualities, their poetics of colour and form. Teeming with raw, elemental energy, Untitled conveys a powerful presence.

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