Richter is one of the most important living artists. Another work titled Abstraktes Bild; it means simply "abstract painting, sold for $34 million. That piece was numbered 809-4 and was significantly larger than this one (better than twice the size).
The artist's career began in then East Germany but he fled that country for its western counterpart as the Berlin wall went up. In the years between then and now he has created work that is high concept, visually varied and groundbreaking. A discussion of his importance would need be too lengthy to get into here but you can find out more at www.gerhard-richter.com.