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  • Frida's painting "Portrait of Cristina, My Sister" will be auctioned at Christie's on 9-10 November

Frida's painting "Portrait of Cristina, My Sister" will be auctioned at Christie's on 9-10 November

06 November 2023

The painting will be part of a group of 13 works owned by the American music executive Jerry Moss, who passed away last August at the age of 88.

When Kahlo completed the work, she still had a good relationship with Cristina, but their bond would deteriorate after Cristina had an affair with Diego Rivera, Frida's husband. Frida chose to portray her sister in a pose reminiscent of Renaissance subjects, as can be seen in Leonardo da Vinci's famous Mona Lisa. This 'custom' of using the poses of Renaissance subjects was very common among 19th century Mexican painters. Frida, unlike the Mexican artists, her contemporaries, adds elements belonging to the style of Diego Rivera. Behind the girl, a stylised tree can be seen, in stark contrast to the very light background; the presence of the two trees, are preparatory to giving a sense of depth to the scene.

Estimated at between 8 and 12 million dollars, the work is among the most valuable Kahlo paintings offered in a public sale. Moss had bought it in 2001 for $1.7 million at Sotheby's, during a sale of Latin American art in New York.

Over the past two decade Kahlo's figures at auctions have increased dramatically. In 2021, when a Kahlo self-portrait sold for $34.9 million at Sotheby's in New York, it set a new record, four times higher than its previous record of $8 million. The painting from the Moss collection is set to become the second most expensive Kahlo work sold at public auction if it reaches the estimate. However, in a joint statement, Max Carter, Christie's vice-president for 20th and 21st century art, and Marysol Nieves, Christie's senior specialist for Latin American art, said that this estimate is actually 'conservative' given the painting's 'rarity'.