The high-end art market has gone crazy. This evening, a painting by German artist Gerhard Richter, “Abstraktes Bild (809-1),” is expected to sell for around $25 million.
A triptych by Francis Bacon, “Three Studies of Lucian Freud,” also to be autioned by Christie’s this evening in New York, has an estimated value of $85 million.
Seven years ago, in 2006, a Bacon triptych, “Three Studies for a Self Portrait,” sold for about $5.5 million; in 2011 that same painting sold for $25,282,500.
Watch the bidding:
In a press release about Clapton’s Richter, Christie’s writes (hypes?):
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-on-wet 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.