Frida Kahlo’s ‘Diego y Yo’ self-portrait set to become the most valuable Latin American art auctioned

Self-portrait of Frida Kahlo “Diego y yo”

Courtesy of Sotheby’s

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With a presale estimate of over $ 30 million, a self-portrait by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, titled Diego y yo (Diego and me), is set to become the most valuable Latin American art ever offered to the public at its auction at Sotheby’s in November.

Painted in 1949, Diego and you is Kahlo’s last self-portrait (1907-1954) from the 1940s and among her last “bust” self-portraits that she painted throughout her career, Sotheby’s said.

The portrait not only explores contemporary themes of identity and experience, but also reflects the tumultuous decades-long relationship between Kahlo and her husband, artist Diego Rivera (1886-1957). In the center of his forehead, Kahlo painted a small image of Rivera to symbolize how he had occupied his conscience, Sotheby’s said.

The two married in 1929, divorced in 1939, and remarried in 1940. In 1949, when she painted Diego and you, Rivera is said to have had an affair with Mexican actress and singer María Félix, who was also a good friend of Khalo’s.

“When I look at this painting, the sentence ‘Abre los ojos, ‘Spanish for’ open your eyes’ immediately springs to mind, ”Julian Dawes, co-head of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York at Sotheby’s, said in a statement. “In a literal sense this refers to Kahlo’s penetrating gaze as the model of the portrait (and Rivera’s double portrait), but I think it also symbolizes the incredible moment this painting will surely usher in for Kahlo, as a market. opens her eyes to Kahlo in a new way and secures her place in the auction echelon to which she belongs.

Kahlo’s current auction record was set in 2016 when his 1939 canvas Dos desnudos en el bosque (La tierra misma) sold for $ 8 million at a Christie’s auction. The most valuable Latin American artwork sold at auction was that of Rivera. Rivals, which reached $ 9.8 million in 2018 at Christie’s New York. And the most valuable work auctioned by a female artist is that of Georgia O’Keeffe Jimson weed / white flower no. 1, sell for US $ 44.4 million in Sotheby’s sale of American art in 2014.

Diego and you was last sold at Sotheby’s New York in 1990 for US $ 1.4 million, making Kahlo the first Latin American artist to reach over $ 1 million at auction. The portrait was then sold by Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art in New York to a private Texan collector in private transactions. The upcoming sale at Sotheby’s marks its first appearance on the public market in over 30 years.

It will be on display to the public in Hong Kong from October 7 to 11 and in London from October 22 to 25 before returning to New York for an exhibition before the November sale.

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