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Düsenjäger by Gerhard Richter
Gerhard Richter’s “Düsenjäger,” 1963. (Image courtesy of Phillips /

A painting that looks like it would be right at home in Jet City is ready for takeoff — and it could make Seattle billionaire Paul Allen even richer.

Bloomberg is reporting that the Microsoft co-founder is the rumored seller of a 1963 work by artist Gerhard Richter that could fetch as much as $35 million at auction next month, tripling Allen’s reported investment.

Paul Allen
Paul Allen.

The painting, called “Düsenjäger,” depicts a gray fighter jet, blurred as it speeds across a muted pinkish sky and landscape. Bloomberg says the work is “part of a group of Richter’s eight early photo-based paintings that depict World War II-era aircraft, some with bombs in free-fall.”

The painting will be part of a sale of 20th century and contemporary art by Phillips in New York on Nov. 16.

Bloomberg reports that people familiar with the matter say Allen is said to be the owner, but they have asked not to be identified “because the information is private.” “Düsenjäger” sold for $11.2 million at auction in 2007 — a record at the time for the German artist, who was born in 1932.

“This is a defining early Richter,” said Jean-Paul Engelen, worldwide co-head of 20th century and contemporary art at Phillips, in Bloomberg’s story. “The painting has this extreme power that’s seductive but on the other hand is also threatening.”

Allen, who founded the annual Seattle Art Fair two years ago, told Bloomberg in 2015 that buying art turned out to be “a very, very good investment for me.”

In 2014, he sold a Mark Rothko painting at Phillips for $56.2 million, after it was acquired for $34.2 million in 2007.

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