Eric Clapton sells Gerhard Richter painting for $34 million, sets sales record

Gerhard Richter's "Abstraktes Bild (809-4)," from the collection of musician Eric Clapton. Handout / REUTERS

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.

Eric Clapton to Auction Painting Worth Up to $19 Million

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.

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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 andraised $2.15 million for the Crossroads Center, a drug and alcohol rehab facility in Antigua he co-founded in 1998.

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