NY sales Day #2: Christie’s PWC Evening sale is ready to fetch $500 million. Focus on Eric Clapton’s Richter

Richter-Abstraktes-Bild-809-1 art market talksFocus on: Gerhard Richter “Abstraktes Bild” (809-1) from the collection of Eric Clapton. He bought three paintings of this series in 2001, for only $3.4 million, and this painting is now estimated $20-25 million.

Christie’s presents Abstraktes Bild (809-1), dating from Gerhard Richter’s finest period of abstraction as one of the highlights of the fall season. Estimated $20-25 million, Abstraktes Bild (809-1) is coming from the prestigious collection of Eric Clapton, and was acquired at auction in 2001. An infinitely evocative meditation on color, texture, and its rhythmic motion across canvas, this magnificent, vibrant work stands among Gerhard Richter’s summary essays in abstraction. Executed in concert with three such masterpieces, this series reflects the artist at the apex of his formalist-aleatory operations. Employing a heady mixture of intention and chance, the artist layers the canvas in a wet-onwet mélange of primary and secondary colors – red, the darkest of purples, violet, and yellow – creating a richly saturated chromatic field, where flames of red interpenetrate the almost blackened violet hues, and striations of blazing yellow enfold the whole in a sumptuous blanket of impasto. Here dazzling coloration is ravaged by repeated campaigns with both a sharp, wide-headed palette knife and squeegees of various sizes, either entirely clean, fully loaded with oil paint, or distributed lengthwise just along the edge, which are then dragged along the canvas, disturbing its surface. Arresting in its compositional complexity, effulgent in its coloration, presenting an almost hallucinatory confusion of planes and shapes, Abstraktes Bild (809-1) is stunning for its surface agitations, a riot of textures and color fields that destabilizes even as it rewards looking.

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