Crazy about Frida

Eduardo Costantini paid USD 35 million for a work by Frida Kahlo and set a record

Since Eduardo Costantini obtained for 35 million at Sotheby’s “Diego en mi cabeza”, the work of Frida Kahlo, to incorporate into the formidable ever growing collection of the Painting, the infatuation returned –and it is international- for the artist from Coyoacán, Mexico City. There began the tragic and mythical parallel destiny of the charming site with many elegant cafes, markets, a large botanical park, intellectuals and artists until today, taken and transformed from the Nahuatl language, “place of coyotes”. The price of the businessman, project developer and creator of the museum, is record: the highest price for a Latin American painting and in general terms without more than an impressive quote.

Will keep you company “Frida with monkey and parrot” –The painter who inquired about herself, her life of suffering and ardor–, with animals among plants and the face that immediately attracts the viewer. Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo, the unique eyebrow –Chavela Vargas saw her as a seagull in flight-, the eyes that look at whoever looks, the short huipil she always wore, not a folk design but an identity one; the hair on her lip that she emphasized without exception. There were no exceptions: all of Frida Kahlo’s work has Frida Kahlo as its center. The Mexican pop icon, magnetic naive maga, born in 1907 who died in ’54: “Death is not bad. Let in the new ”. Whoever observes the photos, in addition to the self-portraits, will not find the canonical and conventional beauty but will see the different beauty and a sensual breath that can be perceived in some way and emanates strong, like those of “The Flower Carrier” that immortalized his husband, Diego Rivera, love and torment.

There are few who inscribe it in surrealism. Kahlo – how distant, better Frida – denied it to refute the Manifesto to the Surrealists, the despotic leader André Breton: “I have nothing to do with it. Surrealism puts dreams in a central place, the unconscious. I paint myself, I don’t dream or interpret”.

It is very clear that Frida Kahlo’s naive art has nothing to do with Salvador Dali – expelled from the surrealist ranks due to political differences – neither with Eleonora Carrington, nor with the Argentine Leonor Fini: he harmonizes more with the Customs Officer Rousseau or with someone whose name will not be preserved among the painters who for some reason express the popular art of Haiti.

“'Diego y yo' by Frida Kahlo was acquired by the Eduardo F. Costantini Collection", published Sotheby's, the auction house founded in the UK but headquartered in New York
“‘Diego y yo’ by Frida Kahlo was acquired by the Eduardo F. Costantini Collection”, published Sotheby’s, the auction house founded in the United Kingdom but with its headquarters in New York

Calvary and versatile sex

Frida became a tumultuous and sensitive reader early on. Also in approaching the ideas that it dispersed by the Bolshevik revolution and the ideological blocks that divided it: capitalism and communism. Also early he was going to join the Mexican communist party, whose torch artist was Diego Rivera, the oldest muralist of the trio that Siqueiros and Orozco complete. Perhaps the quintessential mural is “Epic of the Mexican people”, which millions have seen on the walls of the National Palace in El Zócalo, Federal District. The proposal –to carry it out took five years– was to show the history of Mexico through the centuries from the perspective of the conquered, their descendants and syncretic mestizos without literacy. Rivera was also an international star: he was called by Rockefeller Center to narrate on the wall the process of human labor, but was partly destroyed by Lenin’s pictorial allusions. However, a cylindrical tower in San Francisco, California, also under contract with RockefellerIt was finished and tourists have been attractive ever since. The left consecrated among the great art markets. It was the card to enter among the chosen ones.

Frida was going to marry Rivera, he was 35 and she was 15. They were introduced by the photographer Tina Maldotti, a friend of the two. Tina and Frida posed naked for Diego. Born in Guanajuato -land of toads and frogs in pre-Columbian language-: the body and the face sang. Diego the frog, wild and famous, was amused by the resemblance. So much so that it brought together a collection of stone toads prior to the arrival of the Spanish in America together with an endless collection of figures of gods, animal sculptures, sacrificial obsidian knives like never before.

The union was initially stormy. Rivera was an insatiable glutton both in large feasts that ended at dawn in the house in Coyoacán and in matters of desirable women. The link was public –a noisy example– with the super movie star María Félix, “La Doña”, actress and object in Mexico of an obsessive adoration for her voice with a certain harshness, height, boots, cheekbones, mouth and androgyny. With considerable probability, Frida was running down the road of infidelity as well, without the two agreeing to an open marriage.

Hell opened in 1925. It was the day that Frida rode the wooden bus that collided with a tram. Dante. Nine fractures in one leg, several exposed, destroyed vertebrae, broken pelvis and a metal bar that came out of the vagina. The darkest night. Only a magical or providential event made it survive. But everything was different until her end at 45. Almost always tied to her bed, she decided to paint, paint herself. He had a mirror and the tools of the trade put up. Frida painted. He explored and exhibited Frida (the painting that will arrive at the Malba, the expected “Diego in my head”, has Rivera on its forehead as if it were the thought of a child behind a Gesell camera). Of Diego Rivera’s love affairs, one of them was poisonous: the muralist and Cristina, Frida’s sister, went to bed. They hid it until the story was revealed. Cristina was a very white, round girl with a green look.

The hunter did not waste it, with the warm approval of the prey. The divorce – they would remarry: Diego in my head – was the decision to consider themselves outside of any alliance between them. At that time, the president of Mexico, General Lázaro Cárdenas, was the only one who granted asylum to Trotsky, who was leaving the USSR, the organization of the Russian army, although not the guiding idea: a permanent revolution and not in a country, as a substantive line of the vast proposal of Lev Davidovitch Bronstein, his name at birth. Stalin has started the forced self-criticism, the purges, the criminal paranoia of Koba, the family nickname, to whose charge they can be awarded 25 million of beings. With brief stays in France and Norway without accepting residence, he went to Mexico. There was a time the blue house of Frida and Rivera and then a next one with his wife Elena Sedova. The flash between Frida and Trotsky came quickly. In unison came the persecution of Stalin. Ramón Mercader, trained as a lethal Stalinist agent and member of a family of the Catalan bourgeoisie, gained his confidence through a secretary who served and adored Trostky, already limited to commenting without the participation of historical events. With an ice ax hit to the skull – the curved peak of the climbers – he ended the asylee. The criminal was imprisoned for two decades in the Mexican central prison, released and received as a Soviet hero in Moscow.

Calvary and versatile sex. One day, Chavela Vargas, arrived in Coyoacán in her early 20s: “I have never been with a man. Never. I am very pure”.

It was a night of party with all the attendees “paid”. Chavela played several tremor songs with the guitar and a red poncho. The union of Chavela and Frida was long and passionate until the singer flew free to other women, other loves. “Go away, I knew it. You weren’t going to always live subject to me, my love, my crutches. “

Abundant was the versatility and changes in the days of Frida Kahlo. You can join Jaqueline Lambda, then married to our acquaintance André Breton, surrealist boss. We will leave it as the other side of the mirror, the one that asked to be taken to bed to portray everything that was going to fascinate the world.

The new Kahlo will arrive at the Malba, a place of happiness. A feeling will be renewed: everyone, everyone crazy about Frida.


Eduardo Costantini: “Collecting is an addiction”
Eduardo Costantini paid USD 35 million for a work by Frida Kahlo and set a record
Frida Kahlo: the story of infidelity behind the Latin American work that may be the most expensive in history

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