Biography

Occupation: Painter; Sculptor; Photographer; Graphic Designer
Movement: Minimalism 
Famous Artworks
“Farbfeld 93/86,” 1986
“Fassade II,” 1987
“Lead Paintings,” 1987
“Bleibild,” 1987
“Torso,” 1993
“Tor,” 1994
“Stele,” 1994
“Washington Square,” 2000
Günther Förg was a contemporary German graphic designer, photographer, sculptor and painter, best known for his large-scale geometric installations. Though the influence of the Abstract Expressionism is evident in much of his early work, he focused primarily on Minimalism after the death of his collaborator, Blinky Palermo, in the 1970s. 
Early Life
Förg was born in Fussen in the winter of 1952, the son of Leonie and Michael Förg, who served the German government as a customs official. As a boy, he displayed an aptitude for visual art, replicating images from both paper and life from a young age. Upon completing high school, he traveled to Munich to attend the Academy of Fine Arts and studied for six years under the Tachist painter Karl Fred Dahmen. Most of his early paintings, produced whilst still at university, were monochromatic compositions in black executed primarily in acrylic, reminiscent of the abstract works of first-generation Abstract Expressionists such as Ellsworth Kelly and Cy Twombly. It was not until the mysterious death of his friend and colleague Blinky Palermo in the late 1970s that the artist shifted his aesthetic focus towards American Minimalism and mounted his first solo exhibition at the Galerie Rudiger Schottle in 1980.
Career
In the early 1980s, Förg began experimenting with painting on aluminum sheeting and lead, creating portraits and linear patterns for a series titled “Alubilder.” He was particularly drawn to Rationalist architectural features and spent a considerable period of time examining famous buildings in Europe such as the Casa Malaparte in Capri, the Haus Wittgenstein in Vienna and Frankurt’s IG Farben Building. With a 35mm camera in hand, he traveled extensively through Turkey, Israel, Spain, Russia and Austria photographing structures of political and cultural significance like the Bauhaus buildings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and Fascist edifices like Italy’s Casas del Fascio. By the end of the decade, he had established himself as an original voice within the German art industry and, in 1991, received a commission to create a mural for the opening of the Museum fur Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt. 
In 1992, Förg accepted a faculty position at the Staatliche Hochschule fur Gestaltung in Karlsruhe and began work on a series of grid paintings, officially referred to by critics as “Gitterbilder.” He married Ika Huber the following year and established workshops in Areuse and Freiburg. The artist later moved to Munich, where he was appointed a professor at the Akademie der Bildenden Kunst. At the turn of the century, he received a commission from the Centre for Global Dialogue in Switzerland to design the interiors of the Villa Bodmer, a project for which he installed a pair of large-scale cylinders of unrefined metal at the building’s entrance.
Förg died of cancer in Freiburg in the winter of 2013 and is survived by his wife and his daughter, Cecile Huber.
Timeline
1952  -  Born in Füssen
1973  -  Enrolls at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich
1992  -  Accepts a faculty position at the Staatliche Hochschule fur Gestaltung in Karlsruhe
1996  -  Receives the Wolfgang-Hahn-Preis
1999  -  Becomes a professor at the Akademie der Bildenden Kunste in Munich
2013  -  Passes away in Freiburg
Major Exhibitions
1977  -  Akademie der Bildenden Kunste, Munich
1980  -  Galerie Rudiger Schottle, Munich
1982  -  Galerie Achim Kubinski, Stuttgart
1984  -  Kunstraum Munchen, Munich
1984  -  Galerie Max Hetzler, Cologne
1985  -  Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
1990  -  Museum van Hedengaagse Kunst, Gent
1990  -  Galerie Max Hetzler, Cologne
1991  -  Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
1991  -  Museum Fridericianum, Kassel
1991  -  Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Ghent
1991  -  Museum der Bildenden Kunste, Leipzig
1991  -  Kunsthalle Tubingen
1992  -  Kunstverein Munchen, Munich
1991  -  Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
1993  -  Camden Art Centre, London
1991  -  Galerie der Stadt Stuttgart
1994  -  Kunstmuseum Bonn
1994  -  Erker-Galerie, St. Gallen
1995  -  Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
1995  -  Galerie Lia Rumma, Naples
1999  -  Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid
2000  -  Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin
2004  -  Kunstkabinett Regensburg
2004  -  Galerie Friedrich, Basel
2006  -  Galerie Vera Munro, Hamburg
2006  -  Galerie Lelong, Zurich
2006  -  Kunsthalle Bremen
2006  -  Galerie Bose, Wittlich
2011  -  Galerie Barbel Grasslin, Frankfurt
2012  -  Green Natfali Gallery, New York
2012  -  Sammlung Grasslin, St. Georgen
2013  -  Deweer Gallery, Otegem
2013  -  Galerie Noah, Augsburg
2013  -  Carlson Gallery, London
2013  -  Galerie Klaus Benden, Cologne
2013  -  Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne
2014  -  Museum Brandhorst, Munich
2015  -  Skarstedt Gallery, New York
2015  -  White Cube, London
2015  -  Greene Naftali, New York
Museums/Collections
Art Institute of Chicago
Guggenheim Berlin
Museum of Modern Art, New York
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Fundacion Telefonica, Madrid
Fotomuseum Winterthur
Daimler Contemporary, Berlin
Kunstmuseum Bonn
Kunstmuseum Basel
Tate Gallery, London
Stadel Museum, Frankfurt
Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Knust, Ghent 
Musee d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Neue Galerie Graz
Books/Publications
“Back and Forth” by Günther Förg 
“Verges” by Günther Förg
“Günther Förg” by Michael Neff
“Günther Förg” by Rudolf Schmitz and Alicia Chillida
“Günther Förg: Moscow” by Heinrich Klotz and Günther Förg
“Passage” by Günther Förg
NEWS

Sotheby’s Soothing Contemporary Evening Sale

By Judd Tully | May 12, 2016

Sotheby’s Solid $100.4M Contemporary Sale

By Judd Tully | February 10, 2016

Summer in the City: 5 Shows to See in Hamburg

By BLOUIN ARTINFO Germany | July 29, 2015

White Cube Mason's Yard Shows Günther Förg's "Lead Paintings" in London

By Rachel Will | May 27, 2015

DEALER'S NOTEBOOK: Carles Tache on the Barcelona Market and Defying Censorship

By Art+Auction | February 10, 2013

SLIDESHOWS

Günther Förg 'Lead Paintings'

By Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop | May 21, 2015