Sotheby's eyes Munch record at November auction

Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:39am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Sotheby's expects a painting by Norwegian Symbolist Edvard Munch to fetch a new record for the artist at auction in New York in November, the auctioneer said on Tuesday.

"Vampire," one of a group of four paintings by the artist and the only one in private hands, is forecast to fetch more than $35 million when it goes under the hammer at the Impressionist and Modern Art sale on November 3.

That would exceed the existing Munch record of $30.8 million set in May at Sotheby's for "Girls on a Bridge."

"Vampire," depicting a man and woman locked in an embrace and representing themes of love, sex and death, will be on public display at Sotheby's in London from October 3-7 and in Moscow from October 16-19. It was painted in 1894.

Despite the turmoil on financial markets in recent months, values in the high-end art market have continued to set new records. Russian tycoons have been among the biggest buyers.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)