Disgruntled Soviet artists awaiting overdue payments from a July 7 auction in Moscow are in for another delay. But Sotheby's of London says the matter should be resolved in two weeks. Lord Gowrie of Sotheby's, which organized the unprecedented sale, was in Moscow last week holding "high-level meetings" with Soviet government officials, according to Diana Levitt, press officer for Sotheby's New York. If the problem is not settled soon, Gowrie will return to Moscow for further meetings, Levitt said. According to contracts signed before the $3.6-million auction, the artists were to receive their share (60%) of profits by Sept. 7. More than 80% of the artists' share was to be paid in so-called "gold rubles" (worth three or four times the value of standard rubles). Now that form of payment is creating problems: Sergei Popov of the Soviet Ministry of Culture has been quoted as saying the plan was "silly" and that the artists should be paid in standard rubles.
JOHN VOLAND Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press
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