Eric Clapton proved this week that his art collecting skills are anything but amateur. The guitarist sold a Gerhard Richter painting at Sotheby's for £21.3 million ($34.2 million) on Friday, amounting to the highest price ever paid at auction for a living artist. The best part though? Clapton originally bought the painting for £2million ($3.2 million) in 2001, only to sell it for 10 times the price tag 11 years later, the Daily Mail reports.
Gerhard Richter's "Abstraktes Bild"
The painting, titled "Abstraktes Bild," was expected to sell between £9 million and £12 million ($14.5 million and $19.3 million), according to the Sotheby's listing. But a bidding war erupted between two anonymous buyers, catapulting the Richter squeegee painting to double that amount. The sale, which took place on Friday in London, broke the previous record for a work by a living artist, which was established by Jasper Johns in 2010 after his "Flag" sold for £17.8 million ($28.6 million) at Christie's.
Richter's work has performed well at auction lately, particularly in the wake of recent retrospectives at London's Tate Museum and the Neu Nationalgalerie in Berlin. A sale of his works at Christie's earlier this year resulted in a total hammer price of $21,810,500. In a recent article, Georgina Adam at The Telegraph describes the allure of Richter's paintings as follows:
"Richter’s late, abstract works are particularly sought after because of their broad appeal: colourful abstracts which can fit into any interior, cannot offend anyone (unlike some of his tougher earlier works which deal with death or politics) and are recognizable trophies which give the owner immense bragging rights."
Let us know what you think of Clapton's art savvy in the comments section, and see a slideshow of famous art sales below.