Auction makes Richter most expensive living artist | News | DW | 13.10.2012
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Auction makes Richter most expensive living artist

A painting by the German artist Gerhard Richter has been sold for around twice its estimated value. The price was also more than 10 times what the British guitarist Eric Clapton paid for the work a decade ago.

An anonymous bidder paid 26.4 million euros ($34.2 million) for the painting “Abstract Picture,” the Sotheby's auction house in London announced on Friday. The auction was completed after three bidders faced off against each other via telephone for five minutes.

Prior to the auction, the red, blue and yellow 1994 oil painting on canvas had been expected to sell for a maximum of 15 million euros.

Eric Clapton, who has an extensive art collection, had paid just 2.6 million euros for it and two others when he purchased them in 2001.

The price was the highest ever paid for a Richter work and it also set a record for a living artist, according to a statement posted on Sotheby's website.

"The combination of outstanding provenance and gold-standard quality in this sublime work by this blue-chip artist made for an historic auction moment," Sotheby's Senior Director Alex Branczik said. "Gerhard Richter's international appeal as one of the hottest contemporary artists was once again confirmed this evening."

Richter, 80, was born in Dresden and grew up in communist East Germany, but fled to West Berlin in 1961, shortly before the beginning of the construction of the Wall. He now lives in the western city of Cologne.

pfd/ch (dpa, AFP, DAPD)