Paintings from actress Demi Moore's collection for sale

Actors Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher (not pictured) announce the launch of their "Real Men" campaign at a news conference during the Clinton Global Initiative in New York September 23, 2010. REUTERS/Chip East

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Demi Moore is revealing a new side to her character, that of an art lover, with plans to sell two 19th century European paintings from her collection next month which could fetch about $1.7 million.

Auctioneer Sotheby’s said two paintings from Moore’s collection, by French artist William Bouguereau and Belgian Alfred Stevens, will be offered at an auction of 19th century European art in New York on November 4.

“I find Bouguereau to be particularly engaging for me personally and have chosen to hold on to a smaller piece to carry with me throughout the years,” Moore, 47, said in a statement.

“I love his combination of mythological themes, classical subjects and his photo realistic style. There is a gentleness, a serenity, particularly in his depiction of women, combined with incredible strength that has inspired me.”

Moore, who is married to actor Ashton Kutcher, said she had owned these two paintings for 15 years, buying them at auction for $178,500 and $200,500, but decided it was time for a change as her home is being renovated.

Bouguereau’s “Frere et Soeur” is a work inspired by the artist’s travels in Italy after he won the Prix de Rome in 1850 and is estimated to sell for above $1-1.5 million.

Stevens’s “Mere et ses Enfants” is a variation on a painting called “The Widow and her Children” that the artist painted under commission from the Belgian government. It is expected to sell for between $150,000-$200,000.

The paintings are part of a November 4 November auction that is offering 82 works with an overall pre-sale estimate of $20-30 million.

Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Elaine Lies