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Record $34.2m for Richter painting

Oct 14 2012 15:43 Reuters
  A piece from the "Abstraktes Bild, Courbet"-coll

A piece from the "Abstraktes Bild, Courbet"-collection from the year 1986 by German artist Gerhard Richter. (AFP)

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London - An abstract painting by German artist Gerhard Richter has a set a new record for the price paid at auction for the work of a living artist, after selling for $34.2m, Sotheby’s auction house in London said.

“Abstraktes Bild (809-4)”, from the collection of rock guitarist Eric Clapton, was sold to an anonymous buyer after five minutes of bidding late on Friday, triggering a round of applause.

The sale smashed the previous 2010 record of $28.6m paid for Jasper Johns’ “Flag” at Christie’s auction house in New York.

Richter’s red, yellow and black oil on canvas had been estimated to fetch $14m to $19m.

“The combination of outstanding provenance and gold-standard quality in this sublime work by this blue-chip artist made for an historic auction moment,” said Alex Branczik, senior director at Sotheby’s and head of the sale.

The top end of the art market has performed strongly in recent years despite a faltering global economy.

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