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


Günther Förg (1952-2013)
signed and dated 'Förg 07' (upper right)
oil and acrylic on canvas
79 x 158in. (200.7 x 401.3cm.)
Painted in 2007
Galerie Bärbel Grässlin, Frankfurt.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2013.
R. Fuchs, Günther Förg Back and Forth, Cologne 2008, p. 159 (illustrated in colour, pp. 74-75).
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.
Where Christie’s has provided a Minimum Price Guarantee it is at risk of making a loss, which can be significant, if the lot fails to sell. Christie’s therefore sometimes chooses to share that risk with a third party. In such cases the third party agrees prior to the auction to place an irrevocable written bid on the lot. The third party is therefore committed to bidding on the lot and, even if there are no other bids, buying the lot at the level of the written bid unless there are any higher bids. In doing so, the third party takes on all or part of the risk of the lot not being sold. If the lot is not sold, the third party may incur a loss.
These lots have been imported from outside the EU or, if the UK has withdrawn from the EU without an agreed transition deal, from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime.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.07.B.0219
We thank Mr. Michael Neff from the Estate of Günther Förg for the information he has kindly provided on this work.

Brought to you by

Tessa Lord
Tessa Lord

Lot Essay

A monumental vision spanning four metres in width, the present work is a vibrant large-scale painting by Günther Förg. With its scrubbed patches of colour spattered against a white background, it belongs to the series of so-called ‘spot paintings’ that the artist created between 2007 and 2009. Standing among his final works, they represent the grand culmination of a practice that, since the 1980s, had rigorously interrogated the interaction between colour, material and form. Offering a scintillating counterpart to Förg’s celebrated works on lead, his canvas paintings continued his exploration of painting’s alchemy, scrutinising the relationship between pigment and fibre through different abstract formations. By the time of the ‘spot paintings’, his works had moved away from the density of his ‘window’ and ‘grid’ works, embracing light, space and vast scale. ‘One cannot even begin to appraise the effect of floating, dancing colours’, enthuses 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). In the present work, the artist rejoices in the primal, electric charge of his chosen hues: red, pink, green, purple, blue, orange, ochre and black are swept into a loud symphonic chorus, vibrating with near-sonorous intensity.

Förg came to prominence in a world desperately seeking new directions for painting. Among his contemporaries were artists such as Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen and Werner Büttner – the so-called ‘Hetzler boys’ – who congregated around Max Hetzler’s gallery in Cologne during the 1980s. Whilst many of these artists championed a wild, subversive dismantling of painting’s traditions, cultivating a genre known colloquially as ‘bad painting’, Förg pursued a more rigorous, thoughtful agenda. Abandoning painting for much of the 1980s in favour of photography, he eventually returned to the medium, harnessing a variety of different supports including wood, copper and bronze as well as lead and canvas. Grounding his approach in art history, his early influences included Georg Baselitz, Robert Ryman and Blinky Palermo: all artists who had systematically disrupted the medium’s conventions. Visually, however, his works invited greater comparison with Colour Field painters such as Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko, who engaged with notions of transcendence and the sublime. Unlike his predecessors, however, Förg was less interested in the metaphysical power of the medium than in its raw physical properties: ‘Really, painting should be sexy’, he explained. ‘It should be sensual. These are things that will always escape the concept’ (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]). With its pure, unfettered celebration of paint’s chromatic brilliance, the present work brings this conviction to a thrilling crescendo.

More from Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale

View All
View All