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Hopes are high for Latin American art auction amid buoyant market

NEW YORK--Art experts are hoping strong interest from Asian buyers and a buoyant market, sparked by a record-breaking sale of contemporary art earlier this month, will boost two Latin American auctions in New York this week.

A bronze sculpture of a dancing couple by Colombian Fernando Botero and paintings by Mexican Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Chilean Roberto Matta and Brazilian Candido Portinari are expected to be the highlights of the sales at Christie's and Sotheby's.

Earlier this month the auction houses had blockbuster sales of Impressionist and contemporary art. Christie's contemporary art sale on May 15 hauled in US$495 million - the highest of any art auction ever.

Christie's estimates US$24 million to US$34 million in total Latin American sales on Wednesday and Thursday. If the upper limit is reached, it will top the peak of the auction house's sale of the region's art, set at US$33.7 million in May 2008, months before the Wall Street crash.

Sotheby's expects about US$20.7 million to US$28.7 million in Latin American art sales on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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