Günther Förg - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Saturday, May 7, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, Switzerland, acquired directly from the artist
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    London, White Cube, Günther Förg: Lead Paintings, June 3 - July 11, 2015, pp. 7, 20-21 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Really, painting should be sexy. It should be sensual. These are things that will always escape the concept.” Günther Förg

    The present lot, a group of six, colorful, minimalist paintings by Günther Förg is a superlative example of the artist’s renowned lead series. Rendered in blue, green and orange, each painting stands alone as a masterpiece. As a group the contrasting vertical and horizontal lines present a comprehensive study of Förg’s most iconic compositions. Lead, as a medium, has become synonymous with Förg, who references Gerhard Richter and Blinky Palermo as his early influencers. The quality of lead, its implied weightiness, stands in direct contrast to the sleek, seemingly weightless compositions. As the artist has explained, “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 color a different density and weight.”(Gunther Förg, quoted in David Ryan, Talking Painting, Karlsruhe 1997) The nuances of the lead surface lend a distinct and un-replicable texture to each color and the quality of endless depth to the picture plane. The flatness of the painted forms is remedied by the varying opacity of each carefully selected color pairing. Förg is taking the strict concepts of minimal painters and probing their limits by allowing the effects from his application and the interaction with the lead to proliferate. As a progression of six paintings, the present lot offers a glimpse into the sustained brilliance of Förg’s practice, the simplicity of each composition begs an immediate visual absorption. As he explains, “Newman and Rothko attempted to rehabilitate in their works a unity and an order that for them had been lost. With Newman, one sees that in Broken Obelisk, Stations of the Cross and the design for a synagogue; with Rothko, in his paintings for the chapel in Houston. For me, abstract art today is what one sees and nothing more." (Gunther Förg, in Günther Förg: Painting / Sculpture /Installation, exh. cat., 1989, Newport Beach, p. 6)



acrylic on lead on wood, in 6 parts
each 47 1/4 x 35 3/8 in. (120 x 89.9 cm)
Signed, and dated "Förg 94" on the reverse of each panel; further inscribed and consecutively numbered "6 Teile 1-6" on the reverse of each panel. Please note this work is registered in the artist's archives under the archive no. WVF.94.B.0001. We are very grateful to Mr. Michael Neff from the Estate of Günther Förg for his assistance with cataloguing this lot.

$800,000 - 1,200,000 

Sold for $815,000

Contact Specialist
Kate Bryan
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1267

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 8 May 2016