Art | October 6, 2016 5:00 am

Eric Clapton Puts $20 Million Gerhard Richter Masterpiece Up for Auction

Eric Clapton
(Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Clear Channel)
Eric Clapton performs on stage at Royal Albert Hall on May 26, 2011 in London, United Kingdom. (Gus Stewart/Redferns)
Eric Clapton performs on stage at Royal Albert Hall on May 26, 2011, in London, United Kingdom. (Gus Stewart/Redferns)


Eric Clapton’s music is anything but abstract; the guitarist is known best for his straightforward blues-rock stylings (and a billion little genius riffs snuck in between).

His artistic tastes, however, appear to skew towards his psychedelic Cream years. As part of Christie’s Nov. 15 “Evening Auction of Contemporary and Postwar Art,” Clapton will be putting up one of his Gerhard Richter paintings, entitled “Abstraktes Bild.” (At press time, there is no online preview of the lots.) Richter, a living German artist, who painted the piece as part of a four-part series in 1994, is known for his abstract and photorealistic works, as well as his overpainted photographs and glass pieces. (For more on the artist, click here.)

(Courtesy of Christie’s)



Francis Outred, Christie’s chairman and head of postwar and contemporary art for Europe, Middle East, Russia, and India, had this to say of the painting:

“This series marks a moment of great professional triumph for the Richter. First exhibited at Anthony d’Offay Gallery in 1995 as a group of four paintings, one of which is now in the joint collection of Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland, the further three were acquired at auction by Eric Clapton from the collection of Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch in 2001. The first of Clapton’s Richters to come to auction achieved a world record price for the artist in 2012 when it realized a figure of [$27.1 million].” 

The painting’s pre-auction estimate is $20 million. Below, watch a video of the master at work to get an idea of what goes into one of his pieces.