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London Auction Preview: ‘Abstraktes Bild’ by Gerhard Richter (1990)



It’s not always possible to know what motivates a collector to sell an artwork at auction, but estimates can provide a look into their thinking. Assuming the work is not being sold because one of the three Ds (Debt, Divorce, Death), those numbers hint at the returns that collectors are hoping to achieve on the block. In the run up to the London contemporary auctions next week, Skate’s is focusing on the top five lots that are repeat auction sales, one each day. What kind of returns are collectors looking for in London? Take a look.

On Thursday, October 16, a 1990 Gerhard Richter, from the “Abstraktes Bild” series will go up for auction at Christie’s in London. This will be the first of many Richters up at Christie’s, and is on page 94 of the catalogue. An oil on canvas, it measures 125 by 150 inches. It’s previous purchase price was $299,200, in May 2004. It is expected to be held for a period of ten years or so, yielding an expected rate of return 18.81-23.77%

Should this artwork is sold at mid-price point of $2,450,000 it will be ranked 5783rd in Skate’s ranking of the most valuable artworks, meaning that it would jostle Arshile Gorky’s Untitled in the sale of May 2008, for $2449000, for the position. Richter’s work has 37 repeat sales in Top 10,000 ranking with a weighted average return of 7.52%, making the suggested return at mid-point of 23.8% astronomical by comparison.

The celebrated “Abstraktes Bild” series has nine previous auction records between 2008 and 2014, to help you get excited for the 16th:

142 Abstraktes Bild 1989 2/13/2014 $32,293,282
165 Abstraktes Bild (712) 1990 5/13/14 $29,285,000
478 Abstraktes Bild 1990 5/14/2008 $15,161,000
486 Abstraktes Bild (710) 1989 11/12/2008 $14,866,500
690 Abstraktes Bild 1990 2/15/2011 $11,595,358
1682 Abstraktes Bild 1990 11/9/2011 $6,354,500
2258 Abstraktes Bild 1990 2/16/2011 $5,118,500
3305 Abstraktes Bild (724–5) 1990 11/8/2011 $3,890,500
7805 Abstraktes Bild 1989 6/28/2011 $1,835,007

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