April 8, 2010 / 10:18 AM / 9 years ago

Christie's offers $30 million Munch work at auction

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Christie’s will offer an important painting by Norway’s Edvard Munch at its May 4 New York sale of impressionist and modern art which the auctioneer expects to fetch $25-35 million.

Underlining how confidence has surged back into the art market since the global financial crisis, the estimate suggests that “Fertility,” painted in the late 1890s, could break the auction record for the artist of $38.2 million set in 2008.

That level was set at rival Sotheby’s by “Vampire.”

Fertility is the one of the largest works of Munch’s early career and features a man and woman dressed in rustic clothes either side of a fruit tree.

The work dates from a tumultuous period in Munch’s personal life. In 1898 he started a relationship with Tulla Larsen which came to a violent end in 1902 when the artist injured a hand with a self-inflicted gun shot wound.

According to Christie’s, scholars believe the red-haired woman depicted in Fertility, and in an earlier, possibly related work “Metabolism,” could be Tulla.

Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato

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