Gerhard Richter Cage P19 - 3 2020

11. September 2023

Gerhard Richter: The Most Expensive Works of the Art Icon

Gerhard Richter is one of the world’s most important and expensive contemporary artists. Born in Dresden in 1932, the painter is known for his abstract and realistic paintings that cover a wide range of subjects and styles.

In 2022, Richter’s secondary market auction sales generated $225 million, ahead of Basquiat’s $221 million and Rothko’s $198.3 million. Since 2011, not a year has gone by without at least one Richter painting surpassing $20 million at auction. Currently, with an ongoing exhibition in Dresden, Gerhard’s profile is at an all-time high.

Here are five of the most expensive works of art by this exceptional painter:

Abstract Painting (1986)

46.3 million USD

In November 2015, Abstract Painting was sold for an incredible 46.3 million US dollars at Christie’s in New York. The large-format abstract oil painting shows a dynamic composition of different colour fields, forming a harmonious canvas whole. The colourful artwork is one of Richter’s favourites and was displayed for a long time at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany.

Cathedral Square, Milan (1968)

37.1 million USD

Richter’s famous painting Cathedral Square, Milan shows a blurred black-and-white image of the Milan Cathedral and its surroundings. Like the majority of his paintings from the 1960s, the work is kept in grey tones and shows the typically out-of-focus outlines that Richter created through subsequent blurring. In November 2013, the work was sold at Sotheby’s in New York for 37.1 million US dollars.

Abstract Painting (809-1) (1994)

34 million USD

Another abstract painting by Richter, Abstract Painting (809-1), achieved a price of 34 million US dollars at Sotheby’s in London in February 2015. The work measures almost two metres in width and is rendered in a vibrant colour palette ranging from bright blues and greens to dark browns.

Seascape (1968)

30,1 million USD

Richter’s painting Seaside from 1975 fetched the remarkable price of over 30 million US dollars at a Sotheby’s auction in New York in May 2022. The oil painting shows a view of the calm sea, with a bright blue sky shining through the dense cloud cover and the grey horizon blending seamlessly with the sea.

Jet Fighter (1963)

24 million USD

Jet Fighter is one of Richter’s early paintings from the 1960s. It shows a fighter jet in a blurred, abstract depiction – the artist’s characteristic squeegee technique makes it look as if it is blurred in motion. The painting was sold at Sotheby’s in New York in November 2018 for 24 million US dollars and is considered an essential milestone in Richter’s career.

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Gerhard Richter
MV. 20, 2011