Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Munch artwork fetches record $38m

Vampire is often seen as the sister of Munch's iconic painting The Scream

A rare Edvard Munch masterpiece sold for $38.1m (24.2m) in New York, breaking a record for the artist's work, auction house Sotheby's has said.

Vampire went under the hammer for the first time, after more than 70 years in private ownership.

The previous record was set by the Norwegian artist's Girls on a Bridge, which fetched $30.8m (19.1m) in May.

Sotheby's Simon Shaw said: "Few paintings pack as hard a punch as Munch's Vampire."

He added: "Like The Scream, it distils extraordinarily intense feelings into a simple, unforgettable motif.

"The lovers, locked in their dark embrace, evoke love's paradox as a source of tenderness and pain."

Vampire provoked controversy when it was first unveiled, stoking fears about women's liberation in the early 20th century.

It depicts a man and woman embracing and represents themes of love, sex and death.

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