Lars Ulrich to sell Basquiat painting

Pre-sale estimate is $12 million

NEW YORK -- Lars Ulrich, songwriter and drummer for the heavy-metal band Metallica, is selling a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting from his art collection that could set a new auction record for the artist, Christie's said Friday.

"Untitled (Boxer)" was painted in 1982 by Basquiat, a graffiti artist who died of a drug overdose in 1988 when he was 27. It depicts a black heavyweight fighter with his arms thrust in the air against a graffiti-filled background.

Christie's will offer the work on Nov. 12 as part of its Post War and Contemporary Art sale. Its pre-sale estimate is more than $12 million.

The current auction record for a Basquiat is $14.6 million for "Untitled," which depicts a primitive figure with large hands. It sold at Sotheby's last year.

"Untitled (Boxer)" was the highlight of a 2005 Basquiat retrospective that was shown at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

Ulrich, who collects contemporary art, 20th-century design and tribal art, has owned the painting for 10 years.

"As a collector I view myself as a caretaker of works of art, rather than simply an owner," Ulrich said in a statement issued by Christie's. "I have been fortunate enough to have shared 10 great years with this truly iconic painting by Basquiat, and it is time to put it back into circulation, and let someone else enjoy it as much as I have over the last decade."

In 2002, Ulrich sold another Basquiat work at Christie's, "Profit I," which fetched $5.5 million and was a record until "Untitled" sold in 2007.

Metallica's current album is "Death Magnetic."