Clapton sold the 1994 oil "Abstraktes Bild" for 21.3 million pounds ($34.3 million), a record for a Richter and double what art experts had expected it to sell for, Britain's The Daily Telegraph said.
The newspaper said the bidding at Sotheby's was fast and furious, with the winning offer coming in by telephone after 5 minutes.
Richter, who is based in Germany, has been considered the world's greatest living painter since the death of Lucian Freud last year, The Telegraph said.
The previous record for a Richter painting was more than $21.9 million paid in New York for his "Abstract Picture" in May.
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