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Eric Clapton Fetches $34 Million for Gerhard Richter Painting

Auction sets record for highest-selling work by a living artist

October 13, 2012 1:45 PM ET
Eric Clapton
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Eric Clapton sold an abstract painting by the German artist Gerhard Richter for £21 million, or $34 million, at a Sotheby's auction in London on Friday, reports the BBC, helping to set a record for the highest-selling work by a living artist. The painting, entitled "Abstraktes Bild (809-4)," was initially projected to fetch up to $19 million. 

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Clapton bought "Abstraktes Bild (809-4)" in 2001 for $3.4 million. It's one of a series of four paintings by Richter from the mid-1990s. Three were sold to Clapton in 2001, while the fourth is owned by the joint collection of the Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland.

Richter – whose work includes the cover of Sonic Youth's 1988 LP, Daydream Nation – has become one of the most coveted living artists, with one of his paintings selling for $21.8 million at a New York auction earlier this year. 

Last year, Clapton sold more than 70 of his instruments, amplifiers, and memorabilia and raised $2.15 million for the Crossroads Center, a drug and alcohol rehab facility in Antigua he co-founded in 1998.

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