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Günther Uecker (German, b.1930)


Also known as:  Uecker, Gunther

Birth Place: Germany


A founding member of the seminal avant-garde art collective, Group ZERO, Gunther Uecker is a sculptor and installation artist best known for his hammered nail pieces. Uecker met the other members of Group ZERO, Heinz Mack and Otto Piene during the 1960s, where they worked in opposition to the current German art movements of the time. From an early age, Uecker was obsessed with the medium of light and how it could be used in optical illusions and how kinetic and manual interference could influence the visual process.

These experiments eventually evolved into the Light Salons, installations that toured Europe in the early 1960s. This work led to his experimentation with hammered nails to create the illusion of movement. He later added other nontraditional mixed media mediums like sand and water to his pieces, creating abstractions that implied movement, space, and light. Influenced by Asian cultures, Uecker continues to produce interesting work that spans the gamut of painting, object art, stage design, and even film. 

What type of art did Gunther Uecker Create?

Gunther Uecker is a German sculptor, best known for his contributions to the Op-Art movement. His pieces, which frequently use non-traditional materials like sand, musical instruments, and - perhaps most importantly - hammered nails. Since the 1960s, Uecker’s study of optical phenomena has influenced his work and informed his process. His ‘light salons’ occur around the world. 

How often do Gunther Uecker sculptures sell at auction?

Smaller Gunther Uecker pieces often appear at auction, though it’s less common to see his larger installation pieces. Many of these smaller pieces can be as simple as a nail “sculpture” from his kineticism series, or lithographs that are signed by the artist. His larger installations and sculptures are extremely valuable and as such don’t come up for auction often. 

How much is a Gunther Uecker sculpture worth?

Gunther Uecker’s sculptures and mixed media paintings can be worth anywhere from $1,000 for a small piece or lithograph up to a million or more for his larger pieces. While Uecker is still alive and creating new art, his work has recently become more popular as the mainstream art community and critics have re-evaluated the worth of the Op Art movement -- specifically his Group Zero compatriots. 

Which Gunther Uecker sculpture is the most valuable? 

In February of 2019, Gunther Uecker’s piece Spirale III (2002) was sold for $1.2 mil. It is a painting made from pigment and nails on wood. It is the third in a series that utilizes many of Uecker’s techniques from the Op Art movement. Its value stems from the fact that it synthesizes these techniques with a mixed media medium to create one of Uecker’s trademark Op Art pieces. Spirale I and Spirale II had previously sold together in a lot for a combined 3.2 million dollars. 

What are the most famous sculptures by Gunther Uecker? 

Gunther Uecker’s most famous pieces are typically from his time spent with Group ZERO. White Field (1964), Vast Ocean (1964), Organische Struktur (1962) are all typically considered major works in the Uecker catalog. His Spirale series has sold for the highest total amount at auction, with all three pieces fetching a combined $4.5 mil. 

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