Frida Kahlo painting sells for a record $35 million

Frida Kahlo, who died in 1954, is one of the world’s most famous, least-prolific artists.

A 1949 painting by Frida Kahlo sold for $34.9 million on Tuesday night at Sotheby’s New York, setting a record for the artist at auction.

The work, titled Diego y yo (Diego and I) carried a presale estimate of $30 million to $50 million and was guaranteed by a third party, meaning the auction house had lined up a buyer willing to pay a minimum amount before the sale even began.

Given those pre-sale arrangements, there was never a doubt, as bidding started, that the work would easily clear Kahlo’s previous record at auction, set in 2016 when a 1939 painting of two women on the edge of a jungle sold for $8 million at Christie’s in New York.

Kahlo, who died in 1954, is one of the world’s most famous, least-prolific artists.

She only made about 140 paintings, according to her catalogue raisonné, making Diego y yo a rare opportunity for collectors to acquire her work.

The painting, which is just under a foot high, had been out of the public eye for more than 30 years; it last came to at auction in 1990, when it sold for $1.43 million at Sotheby’s New York.

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