Image copyright AFP Image caption Kahlo is hailed as one of the most famous women artists of all time
“Diego y yo” (For Diego y me) by Colombian artist Frida Kahlo, depicting her lover and muse Diego Rivera, has smashed records for a work by a female artist by selling for $34.9m (£25.4m).
The 1922 painting, depicting the couple in their common living room, is probably the largest surviving work by Kahlo.
It sold on Friday at Sotheby’s in New York for $8.55m more than the previous record for a work by a female artist.
The record had been $23.2m for a pastel drawing of Kahlo by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso.
Image copyright AFP Image caption The painting has been on display at the Berni gallery in Madrid
The sale set a record for the highest amount raised at Sotheby’s sale of Impressionist and Modern Art.
The painting had been on display at the Berni Gallery in Madrid and will go to the Kahlo Museum in Mexico City.
Explaining the public’s thirst for Kahlo’s work, Sotheby’s said in a statement that “Diego y yo” was seen as “an intimate insight into their shared passions, art and humanity”.
Kahlo, born in the early 1920s, is hailed as one of the most famous women artists of all time.
She died in 1954, after falling into a coma and dying of tuberculosis.
Diego Rivera fell ill with tuberculosis and died in 1940, aged 69.
In Mexico, “Diego y yo” is seen as a monument, alongside Kahlo’s other images such as “The Morning Afternoon of Frida Kahlo” (1932) and “The Motorcycle Route” (1950).
“Diego y yo” is still one of Kahlo’s most-remembered works.
As director for the Berni Gallery in Madrid, Helen Irrigo, has explained: “Although not a ballet or dance, ‘Diego y yo’ communicates her beauty and elegance, her ongoing romance and passion with her artist.
“The artist, Frida Kahlo, is synonymous with love, beauty and goodness; with beauty and artistry, which are the themes of so many works of art, both her private and work in the public domain.”
The painting’s new owner is said to be a museum board member in Chicago and the buyer is taking responsibility for the upkeep of the piece.
The price topped the previous record for a Frida Kahlo work, set last year when Christie’s New York raised $12.9m for “Self-Portrait With Bandage” in a sale of mixed media.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Frida Kahlo was born in early 1920s, having fallen into a coma and dying of tuberculosis
About Frida Kahlo
• Kahlo (1918-1954) grew up with a mother who was unemployed and a father who was a labourer. She and Diego Rivera (1911-1934) met in 1920 in Mexico City.
• Kahlo has been praised for her humour, her willingness to challenge the social norms of the time and her struggle against the disease tuberculosis.
• During the 1930s, Kahlo took numerous portraits of other artists, or of Rivera. Kahlo painted Rivera in Madrid, Paris and New York.
• The couple had five children, three of whom are known to have followed their mother’s path to becoming artists.
• Kahlo was also a painter of nature, animals and her surroundings.