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Gerhard Richter painting breaks record for living artist

Published time: October 13, 2012 17:18
Edited time: October 14, 2012 03:18
Gerhard Richter's Abstraktes Bild (809-4) from 1994. (Reuters / Suzanne Plunkett )

Gerhard Richter's Abstraktes Bild (809-4) from 1994. (Reuters / Suzanne Plunkett )

Never before has a work by a living artist fetched so much at auction. An abstract painting by German artist Gerhard Richter set all-time record after selling for $34.2 million at Sotheby's, having doubled the estimates.

The black, red and yellow oil on canvas titled "Abstraktes Bild (809-4)," dating from 1994, has another famous name attached to it – it was sold by famous guitarist Eric Clapton. The new owner of the coveted piece preferred to remain anonymous.

In 2010 Jasper Johns’ “Flag” set the previous record for an artwork sold at auction while the author is still alive. The painting fetched $28.6 million at Christie's in New York.

"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 and head of the sale Alex Branczik said.

Richter’s works fetched a total of over $200 million in 2011, The Guardian reports.

Richter, 80, was born in Dresden in 1932. He is an important artist in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. His work, which spans nearly five decades, includes both abstract and figurative paintings as well as photographs.