Richter painting sale sets record for living artist

LONDON Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:54am EDT

Visitors look at Gerhard Richter's ''Abstraktes Bild (809-4) from 1994 which has an estimated value of £9 to £12 million (US$14.1-$18.8 million) at Sotheby's London October 8, 2012. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Visitors look at Gerhard Richter's ''Abstraktes Bild (809-4) from 1994 which has an estimated value of £9 to £12 million (US$14.1-$18.8 million) at Sotheby's London October 8, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

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LONDON (Reuters) - 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 $34.2 million, Sotheby's auction house in London said.

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

The sale smashed the previous 2010 record of $28.6 million paid for Jasper Johns' "Flag" at Christie's auction house in New York in 2010.

Richter's red, yellow and black oil on canvas had been estimated to fetch $14-19 million.

"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.

($1 = 1.0000 US dollars)

(Reporting by Mohammed Abbas; Editing by Pravin Char)

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