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Gerhard Richter's Abstraktes Bild (809-4) to spearhead Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction
Abstraktes Bild (809-4) by Gerhard Richter, 1994, oil on canvas, 225x200 cm. Estimate £9-12 million/$14.1-18.8 million. Photo: Sotheby's.
LONDON.- Sotheby's announced that its Contemporary Art Evening Auction in London on Friday, 12th October 2012 will be led by an abstract masterwork by Gerhard Richter. Fresh to the market, the artist’s 1994 oil on canvas, Abstraktes Bild (809-4), is estimated at £9-12 million ($14.1-18.8 million) and comes from the collection of Eric Clapton.

Produced as part of a concise series of four works numbered 809 in Richter’s Catalogue Raisonné, monumentally scaled and richly chromatic Abstraktes Bild (809-4) ranks alongside the very highest tier of Richter Abstracts housed in museums internationally.**

Discussing the sale of this work, Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s Senior Director of Contemporary Art, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to offer this exceptional work in our Evening Sale of Contemporary Art in October. ‘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.”

Gerhard Richter’s abstract works represent the furthest most point and crowning achievement of his ground-breaking conceptual inquiry into the fundamental objective of painting - an aesthetic investigation that reached its mature zenith at the moment Abstraktes Bild came into being during the mid-1990s. With its sweeping primaries of red, yellow and blue, in chromatic and compositional power Abstraktes Bild rivals those works held in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as the astounding four-part Bach series housed in the Moderna Museet, Stockholm. The sister painting to this work, numbered 809-3, presently resides in the joint collection of the Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland.

Delivering an arresting display of seemingly endless chromatic variegation, Abstraktes Bild possesses an aesthetic authority of the very highest calibre within Richter's magisterial abstract corpus. Interestingly, the united colour palette of Abstraktes Bild confers a particular allusion to RGB colour. Comprised of red, green and blue, the synthesis and manipulation of these three wavelengths of light are utilised for the sensing, representation and display of images in electronic systems as well as for traditional photography. The painting is a masterpiece of calculated chaos and a paradigm of Gerhard Richter’s mature artistic and philosophical achievement.

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