Frida Kahlo set another record after one of her last self-portraits “Diego and I” sold at a Sotheby’s auction for $34.9 million. The painting set the record for the most expensive artwork of a Latin American artist ever sold at an auction. The self-portrait is a haunting reminder of the emotional turmoil Kahlo dealt with while being married to famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.
“Diego and I” beat out a painting by Rivera that sold at auction in 2018 for $9.76 million, which is $10.75 million today, according to The New York Times. Seems like a bit of poetic justice that after all of these years, Kahlo’s works are valued higher than her emotionally distant and tumultuous lover.
“This is an important late work from a period where her physical suffering had intensified and her painting became erratic,” Adriana Zavala, who curated a 2015 Kahlo exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden, told The New York Times.
The high price for the artwork shows a hunger for Kahlo’s paintings outside of Mexico, which has a 1972 law prohibiting the exporting of archaeological and significant cultural artifacts. The Mexican government has attempted to stop the sale of artifacts in the past with little success.
“Frida is becoming one of the most popular artists in the world,” Gregorio Luke, the former director of the Museum of Latin American Art in California, told The New York Times. “So the price is the result of massive pent-up interest in the artist and very little inventory,” he said. “There are probably less than 20 to 30 paintings of hers on the market.”