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Frida Kahlo self-portrait sets auction record for Latin American painting

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A self-portrait by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo featuring her husband, artist Diego Rivera, sold at auction on Tuesday for $34.9 million, the highest price ever paid for a painting by a Latin American artist.

Completed in 1949, Kahlo’s “Diego y yo” (Diego and I) went under the hammer at Sotheby’s in New York and sold to an unidentified buyer. The price included $3.9 million in fees, the auction house said.

“This is one of the most important works by Kahlo ever to come to auction and we’re thrilled that it should be at Sotheby’s,” Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s auctioneer and senior director, said as he opened the bidding.

The painting shows a teary-eyed Kahlo with her hair loose around her, a portrait of Rivera bearing a third eye embedded above her brow.

Auctioneer Oliver Barker, Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, sells a Frida Kahlo self portrait for $34.9 Million USD during an art auction, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 16, 2021. Julian Cassady/SOTHEBY’S/Handout via REUTERS

Kahlo, who spent long periods bed-ridden after a traffic accident in her youth, created some 200 paintings, sketches and drawings – mainly self-portraits – in which she transformed her misfortune into works of bold colour and emblematic strength.

She attained international fame after her death in 1954, and after the 1970s rose as a feminist icon.

Reporting and Writing by Omar Younis; Editing by Karishma Singh and Gerry Doyle

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