Record sum for abstract painting


Published: Wednesday 11th February 2015 by The News Editor

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An abstract work by German artist Gerhard Richter has sold for £30.4 million – a record for a living artist in Europe.

Standing at 300.5cm (9ft 10″) by 250.5cm (8ft 2″), Sotheby’s auctioneers in London described Abstraktes Bild as “one of the largest abstract paintings by the artist and certainly one of his most chromatically astounding”.

The oil-on-canvas, featuring Richter’s trademark ‘squeegee-style’, was bought by an anonymous bidder for £30,389,000. It easily surpassed its £14-20 million estimate.

Art experts said there was huge interest in the painting because it is not only one of Richter’s biggest works but it is also one of its favourites.

It was created in 1986 and shows Richter’s signature squeegee-style, which involves a careful build-up of paint which is then pulled away with a piece of wood to produce a colourful multi-layered image.

Richter had personally asked that the painting go on extended loan to the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, during the 1990s.

A Francis Bacon self-portrait also sold for £14.7 million – 41 times more than the price it achieved the last time it appeared at auction in 1993.

The painting, called Two Studies for Self-Portrait, was created at the height of Bacon’s career in 1977.

Sotheby’s said an anonymous bidder had bought it for £14,709,000 in contrast to the £353,500 it reached when it was last auctioned in December 1993. It had a £13-18 million estimate.

Sotheby’s described it as “an extremely rare example” of a series of “profoundly introspective” self-portraits Bacon did after the suicide of his lover George Dyer in 1971.

An art lover also paid a record £8,381,000 for a Concetto Spaziale, Attese (1969) by Italian artist Lucio Fontana. His style developed after he swapped the paintbrush for the razor-blade. The work contains 23 cuts.

Sotheby’s said they had recorded “a series of strong prices” for British art from international collectors in the sale, titled Titans of Contemporary Art.

David Hockney’s Green Tide (1989) sold for £2,165,000. Hockney created at his studio just outside Los Angeles and the work had not been seen in public for quarter of a century.

Lucian Freud’s 1999 portrait of Robert Fellowes – former Guards officer of the British army, banker and brother-in-law to Diana, Princess of Wales – also sold for £785,000.

Published: Wednesday 11th February 2015 by The News Editor

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