It seems like — and probably is — a dog’s age since I wrote about the art market; been too busy with other stuff. However, I could not pass up notice that a work by one of my favourite painters, Gerhard Richter, has been sold for $37 million, making it the highest price ever for a living artist, breaking his own record.
At almost 3 metres by 3 metres, Domplatz, Mailand from 1968 is one of the German artist’s biggest works and, with its look of a fuzzy black-and-white photograph, is instantly recognisable as Richter. It was bought by a Napa Valley vineyard owner, Donald Bryant, who punched his fist in the air after successfully buying the Richter at Sotheby’s big contemporary art sale in New York. The work “just knocks me over”, he said, although when told it was the most ever paid for a Richter he laughed: “I’m not sure I should be breaking those kinds of records.” The Milan painting was sold by the Hyatt hotel group – it hung in Chicago – achieving a price 10 times higher than they paid for it in 1998.
The other good news from the same auction was that a typically unneccessary work by Jeff Koons failed to raise a single bid. Even the extravagantly rich aren’t that daft!