What the Masterworks Platform’s Acquisitions Team Sees in the Art of Günther Förg

Spanning sculpture, painting, photography and beyond, Günther Förg’s talent seemingly had no boundaries. One of the most prolific post-World War German artists, Förg’s works have long attracted special mention in art lovers’ conversations.

Förg is perhaps most famous for rethinking the confines of modernism in his work, and this has led to steadily increasing interest in his art. The team at fractional art investing platform Masterworks has done plenty of research to conclude what contemporary art enthusiasts have long known: Förg’s art offers wonderful opportunities for keen investors.

Here’s the data behind Masterworks’ conclusions.

Growing Record Prices

Record prices at Christie’s and Sotheby’s grab the art world’s attention, but those announcements usually involve older, widely-known artists. Examining trends in a specific artist’s portfolio is far more informative, since it reveals the art world’s sentiment.

Förg’s portfolio is extensive and lends itself well to data analysis. His Gitter paintings, inspired by his interest in the color gray, are highly regarded by art lovers. However, his Spot painting series holds greater potential, according to data. 

Masterworks’ data shows that interest in Förg’s work is growing in momentum. This is proved by successive record sales of $1.2M, $1.16M, and $1.15M since 2019. In addition, seven of Förg’s top ten auction records involve his Spot painting series. These data points have led Masterworks to offer Förg’s Untitled (2007) to investors, believing the positive momentum will continue.

The compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of Förg’s portfolio is another interesting data point. Förg’s works have experienced a CAGR of 12.1% from May 8. 1990 to September 30, 2022. This is one of the most impressive value growth trends in the art world, and it shines a bright spotlight on Förg’s talent.

Uniqueness and Context

Förg’s Spot paintings are well-known amongst art lovers. The paintings incorporate visible brush strokes, harmonious color palettes, and purely abstract compositions. They feature a series of vibrant spots of paint evenly distributed across the white background of a large-scale horizontal canvas.

 Viewers can discern the variety of brushes Förg used, as well as the pigments, by examining the shape, size, and opacity of the spots. Förg’s versatility also gives the Spot series a special cachet. These paintings arrived toward the end of his celebrated career, after he returned to the canvas following experiments in photography and sculpture with wood and bronze.

In essence, the Spot series represents a culmination of his lifelong learning, something the art market has long recognized. Masterworks’ data proves this statement, tracking a metric called median repeat sale pair appreciation.

While that sounds like a mouthful, its premise is simple. This number measures how much the price of a piece of art has risen through successive sales. For instance, the median repeat sale pair appreciation is 15% for Förg’s work.

This means anyone who bought Förg’s work in the past and sold it would have received gains of 15%, on average. Masterworks’ data records the first sale of Förg’s artwork in 2006, with the final sale occurring in 2021. Note that these sales only consider artwork held for more than 365 days.

While past price appreciation is not an indicator of future success, Förg’s profile in the art world, his undeniable genius, and different data points indicate a high probability that Untitled (2007) will experience similar gains.

What the Masterworks Platform’s Acquisitions Team Sees in the Art of Günther Förg

Examining Similar Artwork Sales

Förg’s Spot series is also widely considered special because of the inspiration behind the paintings. Photographs of Francis Bacon’s studio played a huge role in Förg creating the Spot paintings. Bacon cleaned his brushes by wiping them on his walls and door, similar to the spots of paint on the paper and cloth Förg used when he cleaned his brushes.

This backstory has added intrigue and increased art lovers’ interest in the Spot paintings. Interestingly, Masterworks’ data shows that the art world’s interest in similar “spot” paintings is high. While it is impossible to know if this interest is due to the aesthetic style, Förg’s popularity or the Bacon backstory, the data reveals interesting trends.

Masterworks examined paintings of a similar criterion to Förg’s Spot series. These were spot paintings over 70 inches in size with publicly available auction records. While artist provenance and context differ, these data paint a promising picture.

Prices of similar paintings grew 32% annually (CAGR) from 2010 to 2022, a highly encouraging statistic for prospective investors. Art lovers will know that whatever the data says, Förg’s Spot paintings occupy a special place in the art world.

After all, they are the final works he produced before he stopped painting in 2009 due to illness. His brush strokes convey a playful harmony and rhyme with the lattice structures of his grid paintings.

They deserve a place in every art connoisseur’s collection and Masterworks’ data backs up this observation.

A Unique Opportunity

Förg’s works have increased in appeal over the past few years, and Masterworks’ offering now helps ordinary investors show their appreciation for Förg’s work. While the artist may not be with us anymore, his legacy is stronger than ever and thanks to art lovers, is unlikely to be extinguished anytime soon.

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