Egon Schiele's painting to be sold at a record price

"Wilted Sunflowers," a painting long thought to have been destroyed during World War II, is expected to fetch 4 to 6 million pounds when it is sold at Christie's auction house.

Some experts think it may sell for much more in a market boosted by a flood of new buyers from Russia and emerging economies in the Middle East and Asia.

A Sotheby's sale of impressionist and modern art on Monday fetched a total of 88.7 million pounds (US$164 million; Ђ 130 million) - a record for a single auction in London.

"Sonnenblumen," or "Wilted Sunflowers (Autumn Sun II)," was part of a collection owned by Austrian art collector Karl Gruenwald that was confiscated by Nazi authorities in occupied France and sold in 1942.

For decades, it was thought to have been destroyed. It was only when the painting's most recent owner requested a valuation that the work was identified as an original Schiele. The owner returned the painting to Gruenwald's heirs in February, according to the AP.