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Sotheby's To Auction Disputed Russian Painting

Russian-Armenian artist Ivan Aivazovsky's Evening In Cairo

The international auction house Sotheby's says it will proceed with the auction of a painting by a famous Russian artist that Moscow officials claim was stolen.

The Russian bureau of Interpol has sent a request to British authorities to block the auction of a painting by Russian-Armenian artist Ivan Aivazovsky.

Russia's Interior Ministry said on May 30 that the painting Evening In Cairo was "stolen from a private collection in Moscow in 1997."

The New York-based Sotheby's said in an e-mail on May 31 that it will proceed with the auction despite the Russian appeal.

Sotheby's says the 1870 painting, which is due to be sold in London on June 2, has an estimated value of $2.3 million-$4.6 million.

Sotheby's told Reuters it was aware of a claim the painting was stolen, but found no record of the painting in databases of stolen art.

Aivazovsky, who lived between 1817 and 1900, was an artist of the Romantic school noted for his landscapes and seascapes.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Interfax