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Christie's to offer Abstract masterpiece by Gerhard Richter from the Collection of Eric Clapton
Gerhard Richter (b. 1932), Abstraktes Bild (809-1). Oil on canvas, 88 ½ x 78 ¾ in. (224.8 x 200 cm.). Painted in 1994. Estimate: $20,000,000-25,000,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2013.
NEW YORK, NY.- 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. The painting will be presented in London and Paris before being sold at auction in New York on November 12th.

“Richter is certainly the greatest abstract painter working today, Abstraktes Bild (809-1) is remarkable for the illusion of space that develops, ironically, out of his incidental process: an accumulation of spontaneous, reactive gestures of adding, moving, and subtracting paint. Richter’s palette of pungent gold yellows merged with blue produce a greenish sheen, while blues folded into reds create gradations of purple that parallel textural rhythms. Abstraktes Bild (809-1) has the sense of a full fall abstract landscape”, analyzed Brett Gorvy, Chairman and International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art.

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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