Günther Förg - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, March 7, 2017 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Private Collection

  • Catalogue Essay

    Brimming with both visual immediacy and painterly nuance Günther Förg’s handle on abstraction has reinvigorated formalist approaches to painting in an unmistakably contemporary environment. Building on an austere and subtly defined, grey ground, Förg has defiantly imposed feverish cross-hatchings of crimson red paint. In places the textures and colours appear to coalesce but in others they dissociate entirely resulting in a picture plane that refuses to sit still. Likewise, where alternations of light and dark suggest depth, the gestural brutality and rigid composition of red paint asserts flatness. This is a fearless painting. One that builds on the existing stylistic qualities of other great German painters yet affirms itself as utterly new. Within this work one can find the confrontational patterning of Georg Baselitz, the ethereal enigmaticness of Gerhard Richter, the historical irreverence of Albert Oehlen and the uncompromising chromatic proximities of Hans Hoffman, all battling for relevance in a work that evidently establishes its own.

    Though ostensibly abstract, one cannot ignore Förg's own representational precedents that underpin the structure of this work. A quick glance around any of his retrospectives reveals an acute interest in architecture and urbanism – formal entities that constitute much of our contemporary aesthetic awareness. Photographic details of modernist buildings sit alongside expressive paintings depicting rows of bricks, or his lead works, that allow industrial materials to reveal their own inherent qualities. The present work is an extension of this fascination. Förg was not so much painting this picture as he was building it; adding layer upon layer until the thing could stand on its own, free to associate with the bricks and concrete of whichever building that would ultimately contain it.



signed and dated 'Förg 01' upper right
acrylic on canvas
200 x 175 cm (78 3/4 x 68 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2001. This work has been authenticated by Michael Neff for The Estate of Günther Förg and archived under number WVF.01.B.0020.

£90,000 - 120,000 ‡♠

Sold for £173,000

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 8 March 2017 5pm GMT