The painting, “Diego y Yo,” or Diego and I, features the late Kahlo with a miniature portrait of her husband, and Mexican artist Diego Rivera, on her forehead.
According to Artnet, the stage was set for Kahlo to beat the record of the highest-priced female artist set at the auction by Georgia O’Keeffe. “Diego y Yo” came in shy of O’Keeffe’s $44.4 million record.
The painting shattered a different record, that of the most expensive work of Latin art ever sold at an auction — triple the previous record of $9.8 million, paid for a painting by Diego Rivera himself, in turn, breaking her husband’s record, per the news source.
This “final, fully realized ‘bust’ self-portrait” from 1949 was completed before Kahlo’s death in 1954, according to the auction house.
“Her loose hair (usually tightly laced in braids) almost seems to strangle her; she has flushed cheeks, and an intense, tearful gaze,” said Sotheby’s
Adding that this art piece “is a quintessential example of Frida Kahlo’s singular approach to portraiture.”