Christie’s will offer a monumental Abstraktes Bild painting by Gerhard Richter for at least US$35 million, just a bit above the US$34 million the painting fetched when it was sold in 2012 by musician Eric Clapton at Christie’s in London.
The painting will be a feature of Christie’s 21st-century sale in May in New York. The auction house’s spring sales are already chock-full of masterpieces, including
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Derelict, 1982, with a price of more than US$30 million, and works valued at more than US$250 million from the Anne H. Bass collection.
The 7-foot-high Abstraktes Bild, 1994, is among three Richter works Clapton bought in 2001 for US$3.4 million at Sotheby’s, according to news reports. The work Christie’s is bringing to market was the first sold from this collection, achieving about US$34 million, which reportedly was the highest price at the time for a living artist.
The second Abstraktes Bild painting owned by Clapton sold for US$21 million in 2013 and a third sold for US$22.1 million in 2016. Both were auctioned at Christie’s in New York.
The painting to be offered this May, dominated by red and yellow, reflects the artist’s “arduous process of applying, and then scraping off, consecutive layers of paint,” Christie’s said.
The work is being sold by the collectors who bought it in 2012. Although it fetched US$34 million at the time, Christie’s said the estimated price for the May sale reflects the 2012 estimate for the work of between US$15 million and US$20 million. This time the work is guaranteed, and Christie’s said it expects competition.
Ana Maria Celis,
Christie’s head of the 21st-century evening sale, interest in Richter’s work is on the rise, and “this painting—massive and filled with rich hues—is a rare and truly superb example of the artist’s singular technique.”
Christie’s also announced on Wednesday that it would offer
Champ d’avoine et de coquelicots at its evening auction of 20th-century art on May 12 for an estimate between US$12 million and US$18 million. The 1890 painting depicts Giverny, near the French impressionist artist’s home.
“This painting is a true masterpiece that brings to life the critical development of Monet’s seminal serial method during this all-important period in his practice,”
head of impressionist and modern art department at Christie’s Paris, said in a release Wednesday.
The painting has been owned by a French family for over a century, according to Christie’s.
The auction house will offer two other works from the same collection in its day sale of impressionist and modern art on May 14. One is
Femme et enfant sur le chemin des près, Sèvres with an estimate between US$400,000 and US$600,000; and the other is
Le gros arbre (environs de Gournay), which has a presale estimate between US$200,000 and US$300,000.
These three works “together showcase the artistic tenets that lay at the heart of impressionism,” Lebouteiller said.
Previously, Christie’s announced that tops lots of its 20th-century art evening auction include an important drip painting by Jackson Pollock, Number 31, 1949, which is expected to achieve more than US$45 million; Pablo Picasso’s cubist sculpture, Tete de femme (Fernande), offered from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, with an estimate in excess of US$30 million; and a Monet painting La mare, effet de neige, with an estiamte between US$18 million and US$25 million.