Gerhard Richter's Abstraktes Bild beats auction record by 19.7%

A painting from Gerhard Richter's Abstraktes Bild series has set a new auction record after selling at Sotheby's on October 12.

The sale came amid the Frieze art fair in London and saw Abstraktes Bild (809-4) - which was formerly part of guitarist Eric Clapton's collection - sell 77.6% above its £12m ($19.2m) high estimate at £19.2m ($34.2m).

Gerhard Richter Eric Clapton Abstraktes Bild
Clapton's provenance may have added as much as 20% to the price

The sale represents the highest price ever paid for the work of a living artist at auction, beating the previous £17.8m record, set by Jasper Johns' Flag in 2010, by 19.7%. Gerhard Richter looks set to hold on to his title as the world's highest-selling living artist in 2012, after his work totalled more than Monet, Giacometti and Rothko combined in 2011.

New York art dealer Christophe Van de Weghe commented: "People are still ready to pay top prices for great paintings. While the market is selective, the Clapton provenance made a difference. It could have added as much as 20 per cent to the price."

The work, which Sotheby's described as a "masterpiece of calculated chaos", is one of three paintings which Clapton bought at Sotheby's for $3.4m in 2001, with each valued at a third of the total price paid ($1.13m). October 12's auction represents a 36.3% pa return for Clapton's investment.  

Eric Clapton Gerhard Richter record auction Sotheby's
In a white room: the Cream guitarist's collection goes under the hammer

A number of Eric Clapton-owned items have surfaced recently, including his Patek Philippe wristwatch, which is expected to bring $4.2m when it sells through Christie's on November 12. As well as fine art and rare watches, the keen collector also recently turned down an offer of $30m for one of his prized Ferraris.

Paul Fraser Collectibles is also currently offering the legendary guitarist's autograph in our online store.

For more of the latest news from the art world, visit our dedicated Art & Photography news section. Alternatively, sign up to our free weekly newsletter to see how more of Clapton's remarkable collection fares at auction.


Recent and related articles

·  1959 Gibson Les Paul to see $125,000 at Heritage Auctions? | 3 October 2012

·  Gerhard Richter Abstraktes Bild may see 452% increase | 2 October 2012

·  Eric Clapton's Patek Philippe watch expected at $4.2m in Geneva | 26 September 2012

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