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.
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera have been known for having one of the art world’s most notoriously turbulent marriages. Both artists were guilty of having multiple affairs and straying away from their marriage, breaking up and getting back together only to become one again. Yet, despite their hard times, the Mexican artists had a bond that transcended the ages and one that has stirred countless discussions about their passion and love.
Written in 1953, the letter for Rivera was written while Kahlo was in the hospital.
”I’m writing this letter from a hospital room before I am admitted into the operating theatre. They want me to hurry, but I am determined to finish writing first, as I don’t want to leave anything unfinished. Especially now that I know what they are up to. They want to hurt my pride by cutting a leg off. When they told me it would be necessary to amputate, the news didn’t affect me the way everybody expected. No, I was already a maimed woman when I lost you, again, for the umpteenth time maybe, and still I survived. I am not afraid of pain and you know it. It is almost inherent to my being, although I confess that I suffered, and a great deal, when you cheated on me, every time you did it, not just with my sister but with so many other women. How did they let themselves be fooled by you?
Let’s not fool ourselves, Diego, I gave you everything that is humanly possible to offer and we both know that. But still, how the hell do you manage to seduce so many women when you’re such an ugly son of a bitch? The reason why I’m writing is not to accuse you of anything more than we’ve already accused each other of in this and however many more bloody lives. It’s because I’m having a leg cut off (damned thing, it got what it wanted in the end). I told you I’ve counted myself as incomplete for a long time, but why the fuck does everybody else need to know about it too? Now my fragmentation will be obvious for everyone to see, for you to see… That’s why I’m telling you before you hear it on the grapevine. I’m writing to let you know I’m releasing you, I’m amputating you. Be happy and never seek me again. I don’t want to hear from you, I don’t want you to hear from me. If there is anything I’d enjoy before I die, it’d be not having to see your fucking horrible bastard face wandering around my garden. That is all, I can now go to be chopped up in peace. Good bye from somebody who is crazy and vehemently in love with you, Your Frida”
Despite the letter, Kahlo didn’t “amputate” Rivera out of her life completely.
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!