Frida Kahlo Breaks Diego Rivera's Record

Frida Kahlo Breaks Diego Rivera's Record

Frida Kahlo has set a new record. The Mexican icon's oil painting, "Diego y yo," just sold for $34.9 million at a Sotheby's auction on November 16 — a massive sale that marked the most money spent on a piece of art by any Latin American artist.

The painting, which translates to "Diego and I" in English, is a self-portrait of Kahlo with tears falling from her eyes. On her forehead is a portrait of her husband, Diego Rivera, who was also an artist. The work was created in 1949, the same year that Kahlo's husband allegedly had an affair with her friend, actress Maria Felix.

Around the time that Kahlo created this painting, her health was beginning to decline. She had several surgeries on her spine, which led to a nine-month hospital stay. When she got out, Kahlo often used a wheelchair.

Many speculate that even though they both were believed to have been involved with multiple extramarital relations, Kahlo's "Diego y yo" is supposed to be a representation of the artist's pain due to her husband's affair. That same year, Rivera released a painting of Felix, featuring her barely clothed.

With that in mind, the sale of "Diego y yo" is also significant because of her breaking the record that was previously set by her husband, whose painting, "The Rivals," sold for $9.8 million at a Christie's auction back in 2018.

This wasn't the first time Kahlo's "Diego y yo" painting made history, though. Back in 1990, it sold for $1.4 million. At the time, Kahlo became the first Latin American to surpass a million dollars at an auction.

"She has such a powerful gaze," said Sotheby's Director of Latin American Art Anna Di Stasi. "And those three tears rolling down her cheek are just the most powerful tears I have ever seen in the history of art."

Photo via Getty