Gerhard Richter painting sells for $34m a record for a living artist

Abstraktes Bild (809-4), an abstract painting by German artist Gerhard Richter was sold for a record $34 million to an anonymous bidder at Sotheby’s in London on Friday. The painting was owned by rock guitarist Eric Clapton who had paid $3.36 million for it and two others when he purchased them in 2001. The Abstraktes Bild was described as a “masterpiece of calculated chaos” and a “paradigm of Gerhard Richter’s mature artistic and philosophical achievement” by Sotheby’s. 80-year-old Richter lives in Cologne and is considered by many as the world’s greatest living painter.

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The sale happened in 5 minutes of bidding, thus beating the previous 2010 record of $28.6 million paid for Jasper Johns’ “Flag” at Christie’s auction house in New York in 2010.

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