Richter Breaks Living Artist Auction Record at $34 Million

Bullet Shih Oct, 2012 0
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Gerhard Richter Abstraktes Bild

Gerhard Richter Abstraktes Bild Source: Sotheby’s

A smear painting by German artist Gerhard Richter has broken the auction record for a living artist at Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Sale in London on 2012 October 12.  The painting Abstraktes Bild (809-4) of 1994 was owned by rocker Eric Clapton and sold for 21,321,250 GBP ( $34 million) against an estimate of 9-12 GBP million and accounted for roughly half of the 44,146,350 GBP tally for the 55 lot sale.  Abstract smear works by the 80 year old Richter have been in high demand recently with the summer sales of 2012 in New York seeing Richter works go for $16.9 million at Sotheby’s and $21.8 million at Christie’s.

Clapton actually purchased the painting at Sotheby’s New York Contemporary sale in November 2001 for $3,415,750 netting him a nearly 1000% return over the past decade.  Anyone interested in watching Richter mint money with a squeegee can watch the video below.  While some of the record prices may be speculation that the octogenerian Richter might not have too many smear paintings left, however as the video shows, Richter looks surpisingly spry and appears likely to be able to produce paintings for years to come.

Gerhard Richter Painting on


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