Frida Kahlo’s ‘Diego y Yo’ becomes the most valuable Latin American piece of art

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EFE .- The self-portrait “Diego y yo”, by Frida Kahlo, set a record price for a work by a Latin American artist at auction on Tuesday, when it was sold in New York for 34.9 million dollars, also quadrupling the previous historical maximum of the Mexican painter herself of 8 million dollars achieved in 2016.

The work, of small dimensions —30 centimeters high and 22.4 wide—, is a close-up self-portrait of Kahlo that was completed in 1949, a few years before her death, and broke the record already in the first bid in Sotheby’s New York headquarters, which was $ 26 million.

The piece, last sold three decades ago, symbolizes the tempestuous relationship between Kahlo and Diego Rivera, who appears drawn on the Mexican woman’s forehead and who in turn has a third eye, an element with which she tries to represent the continuous presence of her husband in her mind.

“The price reached tonight places Frida Kahlo at the center of the scene together with the great titans of art history, and as one of the most coveted artists on the current market,” Sotheby’s underlined in a statement released at the end of the bid. 

The identity of both the buyer and the seller is unknown.

The painting not only smashed the previous record of the Mexican painter but also fell far short of the previous historical maximum in an auction of a Latin American artist, which was precisely supported by her husband, Diego Rivera, with the painting “Los Rivales”, which It was sold by Christie’s in 2018.

In addition, “Diego y yo” already made history the last time it went up for auction, in 1990 when it was sold for 1.4 million dollars, which was the first time that one million dollars for work were exceeded in a bid of a Latin American artist.

Before the sale, Sotheby’s already estimated that it would sell for between 30 and 50 million dollars, not only because of the artistic level of the painting, but also because of the time of sale, when the works of women artists of the 20th century are being revalued. , and when you are showing a deep interest in surrealist Latin American artists.

“It’s a combination of factors, it’s like the perfect storm,” Sotheby’s Latin American Art director Anna Di Stasi told Efe.