Eric Clapton proved this week that his art collecting skills are anything but amateur. The guitarist sold a Gerhard Richter painting at Sotheby’s for £21.3 million ($34.2 million) on Friday, amounting to the highest price ever paid at auction for a living artist. The best part though? Clapton originally bought the painting for £2million ($3.2 million) in 2001, only to sell it for 10 times the price tag 11 years later, the Daily Mail reports.
The painting, titled “Abstraktes Bild,” was expected to sell between £9 million and £12 million ($14.5 million and $19.3 million), according to the Sotheby’s listing. But a bidding war erupted between two anonymous buyers, catapulting the Richter squeegee painting to double that amount. The sale, which took place on Friday in London, broke the previous record for a work by a living artist, which was established by Jasper Johns in 2010 after his “Flag” sold for £17.8 million ($28.6 million) at Christie’s.
Richter’s work has performed well at auction lately, particularly in the wake of recent retrospectives at London’s Tate Museum and the Neu Nationalgalerie in Berlin. A sale of his works at Christie’s earlier this year resulted in a total hammer price of $21,810,500. In a recent article, Georgina Adam at The Telegraph describes the allure of Richter’s paintings as follows:
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