LONDON (Reuters) - Should Eric Clapton ever decide to hang up the guitar, he might try his hand at art dealing.The 67-year-old British rocker is selling an abstract painting by German artist Gerhard Richter at Sotheby's next month which is expected to fetch $14-19 million.

The price itself may raise barely an eyebrow in auction house circles, where Richter has long been one of the world's most sought after living painters with an auction record of $21.8 million set in New York in May.

But even amid soaring prices for top contemporary art, Clapton has done exceptionally well - the canvas on offer is one of three the former Cream musician acquired at Sotheby's in 2001 for a total cost of $3.4 million.

The work, more than two meters square and called "Abstraktes Bild (809-4)", "ranks alongside the very highest tier of Richter Abstracts housed in museums internationally," said Sotheby's, which is selling it.

The 1994 oil-on-canvas “Abstraktes Bild (809-4)” is one of a series of three Richter paintings bought by the U.K.-born rock guitarist for $3.4 million in total at Sotheby’s (BID) New York in November 2001. At the time, this was an auction record for a lot containing abstracts by the German artist.

Executed predominantly in red, dark blue and yellow, the work is being re-offered by Sotheby’s in London for its “Frieze Week” auction of contemporary artworks on Oct. 12.

Richter, 80, who works in Cologne in both figurative and abstract idioms, has become the world’s most bankable living artist, dealers said.

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