Frida Kahlo surpassed her record of $5.6 million for her work in auctions when her “Dos desnudos en el bosque (La Tierra Misma)” painting sold for $8 million at Christie's sale of impressionist and modern art last Thursday.
The 1939 painting had been shown in the ‘Casa Azul’ exhibit at the The New York Botanical Garden last year and since became very famous. The painting depicts two women laying in a dream-like landscape, and it is important to point out that it is rather small for the enormous price tag it sold for.
The painting was a gift from Kahlo to her friend Dolores del Río at the time.
Brooke Lampley, head of Impressionist & Modern Art at Christie's New York, expressed her excitement on the significant sale. “We are particularly proud of the result achieved for Frida Kahlo's ‘Dos desnudos en el bosque,’ which set the world auction record for the artist and became the highest price for any work by a Latin American artist.”
It had been six years since Kahlo’s works sold at the auction, and while it was “unusual for a major Impressionist evening sale,” the results were excellent. Bidding opened at $5 million estimated to go from $8 to $12 million) and landed with premium on the low estimate, for $8 million, which marked a new record for the artist.
Previously, the same painting had sold for $506,000 in 1989 surpassing the high estimate of $160,000 by almost four times at that sale.
Almost six dozen pieces of work by Kahlo have been sold over the last two decades, of which eight have sold for $1 million. The only exception was her previous record, which was marked in 2006 at Sotheby’s New York, when her 1943, ultra-famous painting “Raíces” sold for $5.6 million.
Other big sales of the night included Claude Monet’s “Pond with Water Lilies,” which went for $80.4 million; more than double its high estimate of $35 million. Pablo Picasso’s “Seated Man” from his famous musketeer series went for $8 million, matching its low presale estimate.