Günther Förg - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Wednesday, October 3, 2018 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Salvatore and Caroline Ala Gallery, Milan
    Private Collection
    Private Collection, Milan
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    We thank Mr Michael Neff from the Estate of Günther Förg for the information he has kindly provided on this work.

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘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 colour a different density and weight. In other works the materials would be explicitly visible as grounds. I like to react on things, 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’. (Günther Förg, quoted in David Ryan, Talking Painting, Karlsruhe, 1997, online)

    Hypnotically harmonious and rigorously conceptual, Untitled belongs to Günther Förg’s iconic and prolific series of Lead Paintings which he created throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. Two slate-grey tonal fields flank a solitary electric blue stripe which calmingly bisects the entire composition. Thinly applied washes of white acrylic are applied over the unadorned lead surface, establishing a dialogue between the depth, dimensionality and energy of the artist’s brushstrokes, distilling painting to its purist essence.

    Whilst experimenting with the qualities of lead in his paintings, Förg simultaneously pays homage to the great Colour Field practitioner Barnett Newman’s Zip Paintings, in which vertical stripes ordered the pictorial space of his compositions. However, in contrast to the works of Newman, Förg favoured a purist appreciation of his works’ visual language, allowing chance and time to intervene in the chemical manipulation of the metallic surface. For the artist, ‘abstract art today is what one sees and nothing more’: Förg encourages us to admire the intensity of the material itself, festooned by a vertical band of colour that emphasises the monumental solemnity of a metallic purism. (Günther Förg, quoted in Günther Förg, Paintings on Lead, exh. cat., Thomas Dane Gallery, London, 2006, p. 6)



signed and dated 'Förg '92' on the reverse
acrylic on lead on wood
180 x 110 cm (70 7/8 x 43 1/4 in.)
Painted in 1992, this work is recorded in the archive of Günther Förg as No. WVF.92.B.0616.

£150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for £297,000

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Tamila Kerimova
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
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20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 4 October 2018