The tearful self-portrait that Frida Kahlo painted later in her life sold for $34.9 million at Sotheby’s on Tuesday night, setting a record for Latin American art at auction.
Diego y yo (“Diego and I”) is one of Kahlo’s final self-portraits before her death in 1954, and is a prime example of the emotional pull her work often exhibits and the challenges she faced as captured in her anguished expression, more-rumpled-than-usual appearance, and a portrait of her husband, Diego Rivera, superimposed on her forehead.
Kahlo painted this powerful work in 1949, coinciding 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.”
Kahlo's Diego y yo has now far exceeded the auction record for a work by a Latin American artist, set by Rivera in 2019, at $9.76 million.
A Sotheby's spokesperson said the buyer was Eduardo F. Costantini, the founder of a museum in Buenos Aires, who purchased the work for his private collection. The consignor's identity was not disclosed.
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.