A self-portrait by Frida Kahlo is estimated to fetch $30 million at auction in November.
Planned for the Sotheby’s Modern Evening sale, the painting Diego and you (“Diego and I”) is expected to reach well above the artist’s auction record of $8 million, set in 2016, the auction house said in a statement. Diego and you previously sold at Sotheby’s in 1990, for $1.4 million, securing then-record prices for the artist and Latin American art.
The auction price record for a female artist is $44.4 million set by Georgia O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed / White Flower #1 (1932) in 2014.
Diego and you is expected to surpass the current auction record of $9.8 million for a work by a Latin American artist, set by a work by Kahlo’s husband, Diego Rivera, in 2019.
Rivera figures prominently in Kahlo’s work, along with symbols representing her personal struggles and the tumult of their relationship. Diego and you features Rivera’s bust with a third eye placed on her forehead, superimposed over Kahlo’s forehead.
With tears streaming down her flushed face and usually tightly braided hair wrapped around her neck, Kahlo’s “emotionally nude and complex portrait” Diego and you is a defining work,” reads a statement from Sotheby’s.
Painted in 1949, five years before her death, Kahlo’s last bust portrait coincides with Rivera’s affair with her friend María Félix, according to Sotheby’s.
“I love Frida,” Rivera reportedly said, “but I think my presence is very bad for her health.”