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Frida Kahlo’s self-portrait sold for $34.9 million, smashing records at auction

Kahlo’s ‘Diego y Yo’ to become the most expensive Latin American work sold at an auction

Visitors view Frida Kahlo’s “Diego y yo” (“Diego and I”).
Visitors view Frida Kahlo’s “Diego y yo” (“Diego and I”) on display at Sotheby’s auction house during a press preview, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in New York.
Mary Altaffer, Associated Press

On Tuesday, a self-portrait by Frida Kahlo, a legendary artist known for capturing raw emotions in paintings, was sold for nearly $35 million at Sotheby’s auction, the company announced.

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.

Eduardo F. Costantini, a “renowned collector with a longstanding commitment to supporting Latin American art and artists,” now owns the painting, according to the auction house.

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 pieceis a quintessential example of Frida Kahlo’s singular approach to portraiture.”