Richter painting breaks record for living artist

media captionGerhard Richter set a new record as Francis Bacon's work passes at auction. The hammer price excludes buyers premium.

A 1968 oil painting by German artist Gerhard Richter has set a new record in New York for the highest auction price achieved by a work by a living artist.

Richter's photo-painting Domplatz, Mailand (Cathedral Square, Milan) sold for $37.1 million (£24.4 million) at Tuesday's sale.

Tobias Meyer of Sotheby's called the price "a major accomplishment".

Richter, 81, also held the previous record for the top price fetched at auction by a living artist.

His abstract painting, Abstraktes Bild, sold for £21.3m in 2012.

image captionRichter, who lives in Cologne, is considered by many to be the world's greatest living painter

Sotheby's described Domplatz, Mailand, which depicts a cityscape painted in a style that suggests a blurred photograph, as a "masterpiece of 20th Century art" and the "epitome" of the artist's 1960s photo-painting canon.

The price achieved was more than 10 times as much as the then-record $3.5m (£2.3m) it commanded at Sotheby's in London 15 years ago.

Don Bryant, founder of Napa Valley's Bryant Family Vineyard and the painting's new owner, said the work "just knocks me over".

Onement VI, a 1953 work by abstract expressionist painter Barnett Newman's Onement VI, set a new record for the US artist after selling for $43.8m (£28.7m).

A Francis Bacon work that had been estimated to sell for as much as $40m (£26.2m) failed to attract a buyer.

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