A PAINTING of shadowy figures in a blizzard, by the leading Scottish artist Peter Doig, is expected to sell for up to £12 million at auction in London next month.

Edinburgh-born Doig’s “Cobourg 3 + 1 More” depicts four silhouetted figures including himself and his brother standing on the shore of a frozen lake in Cobourg, Canada, where he lived from the age of seven.

Executed in London in 1994, the painting was acquired that year by German insurance company Provinzial Rheinland.

It will go under the hammer for the first time at Christie’s Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on March 7. It is estimated to fetch up to £12m Doig, 57, painted Cobourg 3 + 1 More at age 35. The work has been described as “one of the great icons of his early oeuvre”.

Francis Outred, Christie’s head of post war and contemporary art, said: “Standing in front of this work one is taken to a different world and through the whiteout gradually we see a memory of his childhood home landscape and begin to pick out the silhouettes of Doig himself and his brother.

“Up close the thick texture of snow and staccato brushmarks create a tapestry of paint, the like of which nobody had seen before.”

Doig has said of the painting: “We’ve all experienced the sensation of light dropping and producing strange natural effects, and I think in a way I am using these natural phenomena and amplifying them through the materiality of paint and the activity of painting...

“When I was making the ‘snow’ paintings I was looking a lot at Monet, where there is this incredibly extreme, apparently exaggerated use of colour.”

Provinzial Rheinland will use the proceeds of the sale to uphold a tradition of engagement with the arts in the Rhine region while also continuing to acquire the works of young contemporary artists.

Dr Walter Tesarczyk, chairman of Provinzial Rheinland, said: “It is with a heavy heart that we part with Peter Doig‘s Cobourg 3 + 1 More.”

The world record for a painting by Doig was set in May 2015 when his 1990 painting “Swamped” sold at Christie’s in New York for nearly £17m.