Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction


Günther Förg
1952 - 2013
signed and dated 90 on the reverse
acrylic on lead on wood
150 by 110 cm. 59 1/8 by 43 3/8 in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

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


Galerie Bärbel Grässlin, Frankfurt am Main
Acquired from the above by the present owner


Vienna, Museum Moderner Kunst, Günther Förg, May - July 1991

Catalogue Note

Mesmerisingly beautiful yet rigorously conceptual, Untitled belongs to Günther Förg’s iconic series Lead Paintings. A prolific period of production situated at the core of the artist’s oeuvre, the exhaustive body of work, created throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, conveys a means of investigating materiality and pictorial reality. That other visually arresting works from the series are held in important public collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a testament to the calibre and art historical importance of these works.

A refined degree of surface splendour emanates through an exhilaratingly varied topography. Symptomatic of Förg’s distinguished practice, the present lot celebrates lead in all its unprimed glory. Recounting his decision to use lead, Förg remarked: “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” (Günther Förg in conversation with David Ryan, in: David Ryan, Talking Painting: Dialogue with Twelve Contemporary Abstract Painters, London 2002, p. 77).

A powerful crimson scar powerfully scores the length of the canvas, decisively bisecting the composition. Entrenched in the history of Modernism, Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, Robert Ryman, Frank Stella and Richard Serra are all discernible in Förg’s artistic production. Förg’s affiliation with colour and composition closely references the revolutionary work of Abstract Expressionist giants, Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman; those who produced immense canvases with a metaphysical and spiritual quality. Contrastingly, in transcending the parameters of painting and sculpture, Förg divorces himself from the auratic and the sublime, manufacturing an entire series devoid of painterly finesse.

Provoking ruminations on the power and essence of colour, as well as our capacities of perception and understanding, the present work is a paradigm of Förg’s most intriguing artistic endeavours. Heterogeneous and complex, Untitled is an exceptional example of Förg’s oeuvre that reaffirms his status as one of the most important contemporary painters of our time.

Contemporary Art Day Auction