Lot 109
  • 109

Günther Uecker

180,000 - 250,000 GBP
548,750 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Günther Uecker
  • Weißes Feld
  • signed, titled and dated 83 on the reverse
  • acrylic and nails on canvas on board


Haunch of Venison, London
Private Collection, Europe
Thence by descent to the present owner

Catalogue Note

"In the beginning was the nail, which seemed to me to be the ideal object with which to model light and shadow - to make time visible. I incorporated it into my painting, and it forged a link between the works and the space around them. It protruded as a tactile feeler from the flat surface, much like a sundial. A language of light and shadow emerged from the cumulative diversity." 


quoted in: Alexander Tolnay, Ed., Günther Uecker Twenty Chapters, Ostfildern-Ruit 2006, p. 72

Characterised by the captivating optical effect created by the artist’s characteristic use of nails, Weißes Feld is an exceptionally accomplished work that attests to Gunther Uecker’s most innovative artistic contributions. Through his signature use of nails on canvas, a concomitantly radical and astonishingly simple intervention in the picture plane, the present work embodies a wide spectrum of post-war artistic idioms, and is an engaging and original expression of the artist’s formal and intellectual preoccupations.

Executed in 1983, Weißes Feld stands as a testament to Uecker’s exploration of materials and his on-going fascination with a profoundly new apprehension of spatial concepts. After the liberating and expressive spirit of art informel, Gunther Uecker, Otto Piene and Heinz Mack, who made up the core membership of the ZERO group, advanced a novel artistic programme that emphasised the lucidity, purity and tranquillity of their art. As Otto Piene explained, “from the beginning we looked upon the term [zero] not as an expression of nihilism or as a dada-like gag, but as a word indicating a zone of silence and of pure possibilities for a new beginning” (Otto Piene quoted in: Exh. Cat., Dusseldorf, Museum Kunst Palast, 1957-1966 ZERO, 2008, n.p.).

Having worked in this iconic technique for over five decades, Gunther Uecker’s aesthetic has over the years slowly evolved into a broader spectrum of variations on a seemingly simple motif. Whilst the early works from the 1960s are characterised by their predominantly white appearance, the artist’s later works incorporate a more diverse set of compositional tools and often have a particularly powerful presence. The depth of the nails and the captivating optical pattern of Weißes Feld make this an excellent example of Uecker’s confident mature style, whilst capturing the spirit of the radical and influential ZERO generation.