GÜNTHER FÖRG (1952-2013)
GÜNTHER FÖRG (1952-2013)
GÜNTHER FÖRG (1952-2013)
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PROPERTY FROM A PROMINENT PRIVATE COLLECTION
GÜNTHER FÖRG (1952-2013)

Untitled

Details
GÜNTHER FÖRG (1952-2013)
Untitled
signed and dated 'Förg 08' (upper right)
oil and acrylic on canvas
69 1⁄8 x 78 7⁄8in. (175.5 x 200.2cm.)
Painted in 2008
Provenance
Estate of the Artist.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Further details
The work is recorded in the archive of Günther Förg as No. WVF.08.B.0102. 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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Claudia Schürch
Claudia Schürch Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

A monumental work from Günther Förg’s celebrated series of ‘spot paintings’, Untitled (2008) is a masterpiece of the artist’s late oeuvre. Rich flurries of paint are piled high upon a luminous white ground two metres in width. The work delights in the flux of the chromatic spectrum, pairing washes of pale rose with opaque brushstrokes of vibrant pink, and earthy reds and greens with jewel-toned marines. A rapturous, transcendent celebration of light, colour, form and texture, it is an emphatic affirmation of Förg’s career-long quest to expand the parameters of painting, revelling in its sensual possibilities. ‘One cannot even begin to appraise the effect of floating, dancing colours’, wrote Rudi Fuchs. ‘Their sparkling behaviour, elusive as light on splashing water, is a main source for the elusive energy in these paintings’ (R. Fuchs, Günther Förg: Back and Forth, Cologne 2008, pp. 9-10).

Förg came to prominence in the 1980s, at a time when the world was urgently seeking new directions for painting. Yet where many of his German contemporaries advocated a dismantling of the medium’s core tenets, forging irreverent, subversive canvases and embracing the label of ‘bad painting,’ Förg took a more considered approach to the canon. His early influences included Blinky Palermo, Robert Ryman and Georg Baselitz. His later works would invite comparison with the Colour Field painters Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman. Central to his outlook, however, was a desire to unburden abstraction from its historical baggage. Painting, he believed, should not be constrained by concepts. Instead, it should be allowed to roam freely, delighting in its own materiality and physicality.

Created between 2007 and 2009, Förg’s ‘spot paintings’ represent the culmination of this idea. His earliest works, created during the 1970s, had been a series of pared-back grey canvases. In the 1980s he rejected painting for almost a decade, before embracing it once again, this time using volatile materials such as lead, wood and copper as his supports. In the ‘spot paintings’, however, Förg abandoned these heavy grounds, working on large canvases with a new sense of freedom, lightness and melody. These paintings materialised intuitively, arising from the layered residue left by Förg’s brush as he dabbed it clean between strokes. Yet that which appears haphazard bares the trace of process, each canvas a site of scrupulous experimentation and exacting aesthetic vision which reveals the shifting, elusive relations between light, space and scale. Colour swells and then recedes, while form, bearing the artist’s hand, emerges from formlessness. Executed in swift, fluent daubs, the present work is a remarkable and jubilant study of chromatics, alive with the freedom of an artist at the height of his powers.

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