A self-portrait by Frida Kahlo is estimated to fetch $30 million at auction in November.
Slated for Sotheby's Modern Evening sale, the painting Diego y yo ("Diego and I") is expected to reach far above the artist's auction record of $8 million, set in 2016, the auction house said in a statement. Diego y yo previously sold at Sotheby’s in 1990, for $1.4 million, securing then-record prices for the artist and Latin American art.
The auction price record for a female artist is $44.4 million set by Georgia O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed/White Flower No.1 (1932) in 2014.
Diego y yo is expected to exceed the current $9.8 million auction record for a work by a Latin American artist, set by a work by Kahlo's husband, Diego Rivera, in 2019.
Rivera looms large in Kahlo's oeuvre, along with symbols representing her personal struggles and the tumult of their relationship. Diego y yo features Rivera's portrait bust with a third eye placed on his forehead, superimposed on Kahlo's forehead.
With tears streaming down her flushed face, and her usually tightly braided hair wrapped wildly around her neck, Kahlo's "emotionally bare and complex portrait Diego y yo is a defining work," a Sotheby's statement reads.
Painted in 1949, five years before her death, Kahlo's final bust-portrait coincides with Rivera's affair with her friend, María Félix, according to Sotheby's.
“I adore Frida," Rivera was quoted as saying, "but I think my presence is very bad for her health.”