Katya Kazakina has the news that Christie’s will be offering the third of his Gerhard Richter abstracts in November. The move seems odd considering the pullback in the Richter market over the past year. It has seemed that every buyer of a big Richter abstract has been satisfied. Indeed, some potential buyers were surprised at Sotheby’s decision to bring two of the works to market with strong guarantees.

Now Christie’s barrels in with a consignment that seems more targeted at the competition than satisfying market demand. All’s fair in love and auctions but the basic fact that the Richter abstract market seems to lack buyers cannot be waved away. So Christie’s is hanging a lot of the Clapton provenance and track record.

For those keeping score at home, the Claptons have yielded lower results—$35m and then $20m—with each successive sale.

Eric Clapton will sell a Gerhard Richter painting valued at about $20 million in an auction that will test the market for the German artist’s work — and show the musician’s prowess as a collector.
The canvas, titled “Abstraktes Bild 809-2,” will be offered at Christie’s evening sale of postwar and contemporary art in New York on Nov. 15, the auction house said in a statement Friday. Clapton paid $3.4 million for a group of three 7-foot-all abstract Richter paintings. He sold the two other works, in2012 and 2013, for a combined $55.2 million. The third workcould push his total above $70 million — or more than 20 times what he paid.