Clapton-owned painting fetches £21m
A painting owned by Eric Clapton has sold for more than £21 million at an auction in central London.
The Gerhard Richter painting beat pre-sale estimates and set a new auction record for the German abstract artist when it was bought for £21,321,250 at Sotheby's.
Abstraktes Bild sold to an anonymous buyer after two telephone bidders competed for more than five minutes, until it finally sold to a round of applause for the record sum.
The 1994 abstract oil on canvas from guitarist Clapton's collection was expected to sell for between £9 million and £12 million, but smashed the artist's previous record by more than £8 million.
The previous record for Gerhard Richter was more than £13 million, established in New York in May.
Sotheby's described Abstraktes Bild as a "masterpiece of calculated chaos" and a "paradigm of Gerhard Richter's mature artistic and philosophical achievement".
Discussing the painting before the sale, Alex Branczik, senior director of contemporary art at Sotheby's, said: "Abstraktes Bild is one of the great abstract masterpieces by Gerhard Richter, and its appearance on the market presents collectors with the unique opportunity to acquire an outstanding work by one of the greatest living painters."
All sums include buyers' premium.