Frida Kahlo’s Painting “Diego y Yo” Becomes the Most Valuable LatAm Artwork Ever Sold at Auction
A globally recognized female Mexican artist, feminist icon, and disabled body who challenged societal norms and the status quo, Frida Kahlo is known as one of the most notable Mexican painters to ever live.
Kahlo is recognized for her vibrant self-portraits that depict various aspects of her life, her internal self, elements of death, emotional intensity, among other themes.
Today, her 1949 self-portrait, titled “Diego y yo,” sold for $34.9 million, purchased by Anna Di Stasi, Sotheby’s director of Latin American art, per The New York Times. The painting depicts an image of herself with her husband’s image on her forehead.
According to NPR, “It’s the most money ever paid at auction for a work by a Latin American artist. The price is also more than triple the highest amount previously paid for a Kahlo work in an auction.”
In 1990, the “Diego y yo” was first sold for $1.4 million, making Kahlo the first Latin American artist to exceed the $1 million mark at auction.
Kahlo has set a new high for a Latin American artist at auction, surpassing a benchmark set by her husband, Diego Rivera in 2018 when his painting sold at $9.76 million.
“Some admirers watching the auction regarded Kahlo’s ability to surpass her husband’s record as a sign of the times. Often with married artist couples, it is the woman who is forgotten,” explained Jorge Daniel Veneciano, senior curator at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles. “In terms of gender politics, this is a good thing,” Mr. Veneciano said. “Now we might say that Diego Rivera is the husband of Frida Kahlo, because she is outshining him.”
With a record breaking price tag on one of Kahlo’s many famous works, this challenges the status quo on what is deemed valuable in a society that has historically neglected artistic contributions from diverse cultures.
Beyond her art, as a global feminist icon that continues to empower women of color of Latinx descent and of all cultures around the world, Kahlo is also a game-changer who addressed themes such as identity, the human body, and death through her creative expression, inspiring a new generation of empowered feminist.
As a woman of color and disabled Mexican woman owning her own creative self-expression, Kahlo challenged social beliefs and norms in the 1940’s around what a woman could be, represent, and do in a society that excluded disabled folks, women of color, artists — and it appears she continues to do so to this day.