Frida Kahlo. MALBA will exhibit ‘Diego y Yo’, the most sought-after self-portrait in Latin American art (2022)

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The Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA) will exhibit, starting this Friday and for a year, the work “Diego y yo”, a self-portrait of the Mexican Frida Kahlo that became the most sought-after Latin American work at auction last year .

The 1949 painting was acquired last November by the Argentine Eduardo Costantini, founder of MALBA, at a total price of 34.9 million dollars at the Sotheby’s auction house in New York. This will be the first time since 1998 that it has been shown to the public, the collector highlighted this Wednesday to the press.

The piece arrived in Buenos Aires a few days ago and will be the main attraction of the “Third Eye” exhibition, in which Costantini will show his private collection, which also includes paintings by the Cuban Wifredo Lam, the Mexicans Miguel Covarrubias and Rosa Rolanda, and the Brazilian Vicente do Rego Monteiro.

“For me, Frida represents a unique artist. She has a dramatic biography that she tells without shame, in a spontaneous, open way. I think that is precisely what people love about her,” Costantini said during a tour of the exhibition.

“She handled the portrait technique like the best artists in history and she used that ability to tell her dramas,” she added about this artist who has become a feminist icon.

“Diego y yo” will be exhibited together with “Autorretrato con chango y loro”, a work by Frida Kahlo from 1942 that belongs to MALBA’s permanent collection. A documentary set is also exhibited, with photographs and other objects, made by Raquel Tibol, the first biographer of the Mexican artist.

The piece, a 30 by 22.4 centimeter oil on wood, is one of Frida Kahlo’s most emblematic works and one of the last that she was able to do before she died in 1954, at the age of 47.

The painting shows Frida Kahlo with tears, and on her forehead, above her very bushy eyebrows, appears the face of her husband, the Mexican painter and muralist Diego Rivera, who also has an eye in his head. front of her.

“It is an exceptional work by Frida Kahlo, that she is a very consecrated artist with a body of work that, although it is not small, is not very numerous either. It is worth it,” María Amalia García, curator of the exhibition, told AFP.

frida kahlo malba
View of the façade of the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA) announcing the exhibition “Tercer Ojo Colección Costantini en Malba”. Credit line: JUAN MABROMATA / AFP / Profimedia

– Interlocking Collections –

The exhibition brings together MALBA’s permanent collection and Costantini’s private collection in the same rooms.

“There is the same vision in the creation of these two collections. In that same vision there is empathy and solidarity between the pieces. The idea is to generate new dialogues between the works,” said García.

The show encompasses more than 240 works, many of which have not been shown publicly for 30 years.

“The object is to spread Latin American art,” Costantini summed up.

The MALBA, a private museum created in 2001, houses some 700 works of the most important Latin American art from the 20th century. © AFP

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