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).
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.
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.
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