Rock legend Eric Clapton's bank balance was given a huge boost on Friday when his painting by German artist Gerhard Richter sold for a record-breaking $34.2 million. 

The musician put the abstract work, called Abstraktes Bild (809-4), under the hammer at Sotheby's auction house in London, and the sale was expected to attract a maximum bid of $19 million. 

But it exceeded experts' estimations and was snapped up by an anonymous buyer just five minutes into the auction, prompting a round of applause. 

The huge amount breaks the previous record for a price paid at auction for the work of a living artist, which was set in 2010 following the sale of Jasper Johns' Flag for $28.6 millio. 

Clapton has made a huge profit from the sale - he bought the piece as a set of four in 2001 for $3.4 million.