Edvard Munch's "Vampire," a dark, brooding painting of a woman with cascading red hair kissing a man's neck, may set a new record for the Norwegian artist when it goes on the auction block this fall.
The 1894 work, which has been in private hands for more than 70 years, is expected to bring $35 million at Sotheby's on Nov. 3. In May, Munch's "Girls on the Bridge" sold for $30.8 million, setting a record for the artist.
The "Vampire" painting, also known as "Love and Pain," caused a stir when it was first exhibited in Berlin in 1902. It was part of a 20-work project called Frieze of Life that explored themes of love, betrayal, death and sex and included his masterpiece, "The Scream."
"Like 'The Scream,' it distills extraordinarily intense feelings," Simon Shaw, head of Sotheby's impressionist and modern art, said Tuesday. "The lovers, locked in their dark embrace, evoke love's paradox as a source of tenderness and pain."
An avid Munch collector bought "Vampire" in 1903. In 1934, it was purchased by a private collector, who has owned it since. It was on loan at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for about 10 years.
"Vampire" will be the highlight of Sotheby's sale of impressionist and modern art.