Case Study: Eric Clapton’s Richter at Auction

It appears that in addition to being one of the greatest guitar players of all time, Eric Clapton is also a savvy art investor. At Sotheby’s Fall sale of Contemporary Art this coming October 12 in London, the rock legend will sell a painting by Gerhard Richter. With an expected hammer price of $14-19 million, his profit will be exceptional since he purchased it and two other Richters at Sotheby’s for $3.4 million in 2001.

Though the piece, an abstract canvas called “Abstraktes Bild (809-4)”, is not expected to set a record for paintings by Richter (currently $21.8 million), it is considered equal in quality to the best works by the artist currently held in museums around the world. The fact that the provenance will include ownership by Clapton will make it that much more desirable.

I wouldn’t mind owning the Richter, but I’d still prefer to have a few of Clapton’s guitars.  Just sayin’.

Video: Gerhard Richter Painting

One of the world’s greatest living painters, the German artist Gerhard Richter has spent over half a century experimenting with a tremendous range of techniques and ideas, addressing historical crises and mass media representation alongside explorations of chance procedures. Infamously media-shy, he agreed to appear on camera for the first time in 15 years for a 2007 short by filmmaker Corinna Belz called Gerhard Richter’s Window.

Her follow-up, Gerhard Richter Painting, is exactly that: a thrilling document of Richter’s creative process, juxtaposed with intimate conversations (with his critics, his collaborators, and his American gallerist Marian Goodman) and rare archive material. From our fly-on-the-wall perspective, we watch the 79-year-old create a series of large-scale abstract canvasses, using fat brushes and a massive squeegee to apply (and then scrape off) layer after layer of brightly colored paint. This mesmerizing footage, of a highly charged process of creation and destruction, turns Belz’s portrait of an artist into a work of art itself.

Learn more at the film’s official website.