One of Frida Kahlo’s final portraits set a new record on Tuesday.Her 1949 self-portrait, “Diego y yo,” sold for $34.9 million on Tuesday night at Sotheby’s Modern Evening Sale in New York. It is the most expensive price ever paid for Latin American art.”Diego y yo,” painted five years before her death, is regarded as Kahlo’s final self-portrait. The 11.7-by-8.8-inch oil painting depicts a tearful Kahlo, with a portrait of her late husband, Diego Rivera, embedded above her brow.
“Tonight’s outstanding result further secures her place in the auction echelon as one of the true titans of twentieth-century art,” said Julian Dawes, Sotheby’s senior vice president and co-head of impressionist and modern art.”Diego y yo,” an intense painting that speaks to the state of Kahlo’s fragile marriage, was created when she was in a lot of physical pain, according to Natalia Zerbato, an art historian who studies Kahlo’s life and work at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and leads tours based on her life.”Diego y yo” was last auctioned by Sotheby’s in 1990 for $1.4 million. According to Sotheby’s, Kahlo’s previous auction record was $8 million for her 1939 painting “Two Nudes in the Forest,” which was auctioned in 2016.
“I think it’s also very powerful because it’s not even one of her most famous works,” Zerbato added. “I believe that if you just use numbers to talk about how important Frida’s work is, it appears to be very important and very marketable.”Much of Kahlo’s art is recognised as an artistic monument in Mexico, a legal status that prohibits the sale of prominent 19th and 20th century Mexican art, according to Zerbato.
“There is no price for the meaning of Frida in Mexico,” she said. “In my opinion, you can’t put a price on Frida.”According to Gregorio Luke, a Mexican and Latin American art expert and lecturer, Kahlo’s ability to speak to so many identities is what makes her art and storey so enduring.”I believe Frida’s popularity stems from her multiculturalism.” She is biracial. “She embodies this more than any other artist,” Luke, the former director of the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California, said.
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