The German artist's red, yellow and black oil on canvas was originally estimated to sell for between $14 and $19 million, according to Reuters. It came from the collection of singer and guitarist Eric Clapton.
It bested Jasper Johns' "Flag," which sold for $28.6 million at Christie's auction house in New York in 2010, Reuters reported.
"Abstraktes Bild's" sister painting is jointly owned by the Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland, BBC News reported.
"The combination of outstanding provenance and gold-standard quality in this sublime work by this blue-chip artist made for an historic auction moment," said Sotheby's senior director Alex Branczik, Agence France Presse reported. "Gerhard Richter's international appeal as one of the hottest contemporary artists was once again confirmed this evening."
Richter, 80, grew up in communist east Germany after being born in Dresden, and takes photos in additions to painting both abstract and figurative pieces, AFP reported. He is considered the world's top-selling living artist.