The only record of “Niña con Collar” was a single black and white photo of the self-portrait by photographer Lola Álvarez Bravo. After Kahlo’s death in 1954, Kahlo’s husband, Mexican painter Diego Rivera, gifted the portrait to a woman who worked as a studio assistant to Kahlo. The million-dollar piece of art hung in the unnamed woman’s California home, and was kept in prime conditions which preserved the vibrant colors of the image, according to Axel Stein, the head of Latin art at Sotheby’s. This past summer, the owner of the painting decided to put it up for auction, though no reason was given by the owner or the auction house.
Frida Kahlo’s long lost “Niña con Collar” finally went up for auction at the world famous Sotheby’s auction house, selling for a whopping $1,812,500.
CREDIT: CNN / YOUTUBE
This figure was not far from the appraised value $1.5 million to $2.0 million.
While “Niña con Collar” sold for nearly two million dollars, it is not the most someone has paid for a Kahlo painting.
Kahlo’s most expensive piece to hit the auction block was “Dos desnudos en el bosque,” which brought in $8 million this past May. Though appraisers had expected up to $12 million for the piece, the sale made “Dos desnudos en el bosque” the most expensive artwork a Latin American artist has ever sold at auction. Sixty years after her death, Kahlo continues to capture the hearts, imaginations, and pocketbooks of each generation of art lovers.
It’s that time of year again—leaves are changing, brujas are cackling, and we’re all trying to figure out qué demonios to wear for Halloween. Of course, the Frida Kahlo traje is a go-to homage, especially if you want to celebrate beauty, authenticity, and creativity with your costume. Yes, her flower headdresses and flowing folk skirts are quintessentially Kahlo, but as an artist and innovator, she was always playing with her appearance.
If you want to honor the legendary artista this Halloween, here are some unique ideas that will wow Frida fans everywhere.
Genderbending Frida in her classic men’s suit
credit: kew studio / Pinterest.com
Kahlo was an artist known for taking fashion conventions and turning them on their head. She was also known to embrace androgyny, emphasizing traits that were traditionally masculine (like her unibrow and facial hair) in her prolific self-portraits. She may be remembered for long braids, dangly earrings, and floral designs, but her openness to her masculine side made Frida who she was—and that’s also worth remembering.
Opt for a slick suit that does the queen justice
For the ultimate boyish Frida look, try a cream-colored tailored suit (snag a tie and vest from a bf or bro). Top it off with a slicked-back bun and filled-in brows! Satin Double Breasted Suit Jacket, $89, asos.com
Androgynous Frida, but with a feminine twist
credit: Smithsonian / Pinterest.com
Can’t get enough of that androgynous Frida vibe? We can’t, either. If you’re aiming for a slightly more casual look, you’ve probably got all the goods in your closet already. Pull on some dark jeans, a classy button-up, and a pair of bold earrings for a simple yet artsy ensemble, fit for Frida herself.
Choose an ornate necklace to spice it up
Want to dress the look up a bit without being too flashy? Add a splash of glam with a vintage statement necklace to keep it quick and easy, but with a more refined look. Handmade Bib Statement Necklace, $32, etsy.com
Frida kicking back on the terraza
Even in cool and casual linen digs, Frida exuded total elegance and grace. You’re hoping to embody her complete badassery in comfy, warm, flattering clothes, right? Then this soft, unassuming getup should be your go-to. You may feel like you’re in your pajamas (YAS), but slip on some high-heeled gaucho boots and you’ve got yourself an edgy look!
Wear a stylish linen tunic that lets accessories shine
Whether you opt for classic cowboy boots or sexy stilettos, your linen tunic will be a perfect canvas for the finer details of your outfit. Plus, it’s the kind of thing you can wear again and again, even after Halloween’s over! Long Black Linen Tunic Top, $69, etsy.com
Frida in all her gothic glamour
credit: theguardian.com / Pinterest.com
Okay, okay, finally something fancy! In addition to her characteristically colorful wardrobe, Frida could rock a demure and minimalist style. This look is not only chic—but lace and black velvet both totally fit the aura of the spooky season, making it a perfect option for any costume party.
Choose a shawl like Frida’s, with delicate details
Frida’s frocks were always intricately crafted, often showing off meticulous, thoughtful flourishes. If you’re planning to mimic this classic black look, be sure to snag a garment that has a little something special, like this shawl with floral pattern and fringe. Black Burnout Robe with Fringe, $86, amazon.com
Frida…with a doily on her head
credit: Artsy.net / Pinterest.com
Frida was an artist, and artists often go to strange lengths to express themselves. She is not only wearing a cute AF sweater in this photo—a cropped cardigan would be a great substitute, btw—but she has adorned her head with…not flowers, not fabric, but paper? Lace? What is a doily, anyway?
In Mexico, papel picado is used to adorn all sorts of Mexican fiestas, and at the end of the day, it’s essentially a doily. If you’re looking to infuse your costume with a bit of symbolism—and you’re into the whole DIY approach to Halloween—consider using papel picado to achieve this playful look! Since she was a Mexican artist, incorporating this tradition into your outfit would add another layer of depth to your Kahlo tribute. Plus, you can emulate her even further as you flex those creative, crafty muscles! Beautiful Dreamy White Papel Picado Banner, $29, etsy.com
Frida in traditional Tehuana dress
credit: messynessychic.com / Pinterest.com
Widely regarded as quintessential Mexican dress, Frida was particularly fond of the Tehuana traje, with its ornate huipiles and full skirts. Native to Oaxaca, the Tehuana traje is symbolic of a largely matriarchal society, commanding a sense of deep respect and feminine power.
Tehuana women don these gorgeous outfits to loudly and proudly celebrate a wide variety of velas (traditional fiestas)—so it’s probably not a good idea to try imitating their traditional fashion. However, you can purchase authentic Mexican-made Tehuana garments at this Etsy shop, in other online stores, and (duh) in Tehuantepec!
Regardless of which Frida look you choose, use this Halloween as a way to honor her groundbreaking history. ¡Te queremos, Frida!
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An exhibition on the esteemed Mexican artists, lovers, and icons Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera is coming to North Carolina. On October 26, the North Carolina Museum of Art will open the Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection. The anticipated exhibition will include paintings, drawings, photography and film that aims to capture the 20th century artists’ bodies of work as well as their friendships and conflicts with political figures and their own impassioned and tumultuous personal relationships.
“Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection will emphasize a remarkable chapter in art history that is at once Mexican and global,” museum director Valerie Hillings told the ArtfixDaily, a publication covering curated art news.
Today, their tempestuous relationship is as famous as some of the artists’ most popular works.
Kahlo and Rivera met in June 1928 at a party thrown by photographer Tina Modotti. At the time, a young, bold Kahlo asked Rivera to look at her paintings to see if he thought that she had enough talent to succeed. Rivera, impressed by her work, later spoke about that encounter, saying, “It was obvious to me that this girl was an authentic artist.” The pair soon started a relationship, though Rivera was 20 years older than Kahlo and already had two common-law wives. It was the start to a messy, atypical romance.
Marrying at a civil ceremony at the town hall of Coyoacán in 1929, despite the disapproval of Kahlo’s mother, their marriage included immense heartbreak.
Over the years, the couple experienced and fought over everything from failed abortions and miscarriages to ailing physical health, to extra-marital affairs, including same-gender relationships from the gender-bending Kahlo. In 1939, the couple even divorced, only to remarry a year later with little change in their passionate yet rocky affair. Aside from the infidelity, rage, and distress that brewed in their personal relationship, the pair was often also at odds with political leaders as well. As communists, the revolutionary nature of Rivera’s murals, as well as Kahlo’s self-portraits and party affiliations, often put them at odds with political and religious leaders.
“Diego Rivera’s personality, politics, and monumental, social realist murals made him a celebrity during his lifetime. While he once overshadowed his equally talented wife, Frida Kahlo’s fame has far outstripped her husband’s in the years since her death,” Hillings added.
The pieces presented at the exhibition come from the long-time collection of Jacques and Natasha Gelman. According to ArtfixDaily, the Gelmans became Mexican citizens in 1942 and at the time started amassing Mexican art. Their collection includes Mexican modernists, like Kahlo and Rivera, who became friends with the Gelmans, as well as their compatriots Rufino Tamayo, David Alfaro Siqueiros and more.
The exhibition was organized by the Vergel Foundation and MondoMostre in collaboration with the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura (INBAL). It is a joint project between the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions. It includes research from the Ann and Jim Goodnight/The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fund for Curatorial and Conservation Research and Travel.
The North Carolina Museum of Art is presenting the exhibition alongside the Luces y Sombras: Images of Mexico | Photographs from the Bank of America Collection.
Together, the fall exhibitions “celebrate these artists’ culture of origin as well as the diverse sources of influence they drew upon in creating their distinctive oeuvres,” Hillings said.
While the museum is commemorating the famed Mexican couple, not everyone is excited about the pair’s legacy. The fall exhibition comes weeks after the new U.S. ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau criticized Kahlo for her support of Marxism, stirring controversy on social media. The ambassador, who was appointed by President Donald Trump and sworn in last month, took to Twitter last week after visiting the late Kahlo’s home, La Casa Azul, in Mexico City.
“I admire her free and bohemian spirit, and she rightly became an icon of Mexico around the whole world. What I do not understand is her obvious passion for Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism. Didn’t she know about the horrors committed in the name of that ideology?” he wrote in Spanish.
His comments immediately drew backlash from thousands of people.
Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection runs at the North Carolina Museum of Art through January 19, 2020. To recognize the native language and cultural heritage of the artists in the exhibition, gallery information will be provided in both English and Spanish.
Tickets are already available for members but will be sold to nonmembers starting on September 17.