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Painting Owned by Eric Clapton Sells for Record $34 Million

Gerhard Richter

Although he’s received many a big royalty check in his lifetime, it’s doubtful Eric Clapton has ever gotten one to compare with the payment he’s about to get. A painting from his collection sold at a London auction on Friday (Oct. 12) for more than $34 million.

Clapton got quite the return on his investment. He purchased the 1994 painting, “Abstraktes Bild (809-4)” by German artist Gerhard Richter, along with two others in Richter’s 809 series, for $3.4 million in 2001. Richter’s “Abstraktes Bild (809-2)” was also sold, but for “only” $3.1 million.

The price breaks the record for a living artist. Two years ago, Jasper Johns’ painting ‘Flag’ sold for more than $28 million. When first listed, Sotheby’s valued the painting somewhere between $14 million and $19 million. Another Richter painting sold for $21.8 million in New York in May.

The 80-year old Richter created the 809 series by painting images onto a canvas and then scraping them with a “squeegee-like object.” In 1962, Richter said that art was “like the religious search for God.”

Bidding for the painting took five minutes, with three bidders battling it out over the phone. The winning bidder’s name was not disclosed.

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