He has made a fortune out of his ear for music - and it turns out his eye for art isn’t too bad either.
A painting bought by Eric Clapton for £2million has sold for more than £21million, the highest amount ever paid for a work by a living artist.
The guitarist, 67, bought the abstract work in 2001 and it was expected to sell for around £10million when auctioned at Sotheby’s in London.
However, fierce rivalry between two anonymous telephone bidders meant the picture, by German artist Gerhard Richter, eventually sold for £21,321,250.
The garish-looking 1994 oil painting, called Abstraktes Bild (808-4), was described by Sotheby’s as a ‘masterpiece of calculated chaos’.
The sale on Friday broke the previous record for a work by a living artist, which was set in 2010 when a painting by American Jasper Johns sold for £17.8million.
Clapton, who is worth £140million, studied art for a year before his career took off and has used some of his fortune to build an art collection.
In 1997 he sold 32 works for £420,000, including paintings by Henri Matisse and Edgar Degas.
He also collects watches, one of which, a rare platinum-cased Patek Philippe, is due to go under the hammer next month, valued at £2.65million.
Richter, 80, is regarded as one of the world’s greatest living painters, with work in the Tate and many private collections.