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Frida Kahlo’s ‘Diego y yo’ breaks records, sells for $34.9 million

One of the last portraits by Frida Kahlo broke records Tuesday.

Her 1949 self-portrait, titled “Diego y yo,” sold for $34.9 million at Sotheby’s Modern Evening Sale in New York on Tuesday night. It’s the highest price ever paid for Latin American art.

The painting was purchased by the Eduardo F. Costantini Collection, Sotheby’s confirmed to The Associated Press shortly after Tuesday’s sale. Constantini, a real estate developer and philanthropist, is a renowned collector committed to supporting Latin American art and the founder of Malba, the Museum of Latin American Art in Buenos Aires.

Painted five years before her death, “Diego y yo” is considered to be Kahlo’s final self-portrait. The 11.7- by 8.8-inch oil painting shows a teary-eyed Kahlo with a portrait of her husband, Diego Rivera, embedded above her brow.

“Tonight’s outstanding result further secures her place in the auction echelon she belongs, as one of the true titans of 20th century art,” Julian Dawes, Sotheby’s senior vice president and co-head of impressionist and modern art, said in a statement.

“Diego y yo,” an intense painting that speaks to the state of Kahlo’s fragile marriage, was created when she was experiencing a great deal of physical pain, said Natalia Zerbato, an art historian who studies Kahlo’s life and work at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and offers tours based on Kahlo’s life. 

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