Who bought the most expensive work of Latin American artist Frida Kahlo?

Argentine businessman Eduardo Costandini is delighted to hear of the purchase of a self-portrait of Frida Kahlo, which became the most expensive work of a Latin American artist in history last Tuesday and sold at auction, reaching $ 34.9 million. Her. Frida is here to stay in art history, ”he told Efe.

Kahlo’s self-portrait “Diego Yo Yo” broke several records at Sotheby’s auction in New York, quadrupleing the previous record of $ 8 million set by a Mexican painter in 2016 and surpassing the support of a Latin American artist. Precisely by her husband Diego Rivera.

“It’s a feeling to be able to have such an important work, rather than records,” said Costandini of Uruguay, recalling that at other times he purchased the most important works at accessible values.

According to Costandini, the acquisition was a “double entender” because “Latin American art valued everything” and “Frida gave value to Latin American art”, but he pointed out that it was “an event beyond Latin American art.” It is an event of universal art.

And it’s very popular with the public, “he said.

At 30 cm high and 22.4 cm wide, the work is a close-up portrait of Kahlo, completed in 1949, a few years before he died.

This piece symbolizes the turbulent relationship between Kahlo and Rivera, which appears to be painted on the forehead of a Mexican woman and an element with a third eye, trying to reflect her husband’s continued presence in her mind.

When last auctioned in 1990, the self-portrait had already sold for $ 1.4 million, setting a milestone and surpassing the one million dollar bid for an artist’s work. Latin American.

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At this point, Kostandini considered the work “a compelling, high value” and recalled that he and another buyer were at auction, “those who do not want to thank God.”

Distinctive artist

Costandini, the renowned art collector and founder of the Latin American Museum of Art (Malpa) in Buenos Aires, bought “Diego Yo” for his personal collection.

In 1995 he bought Kahlo’s “self-portrait with the monkey and Cleo”, which today bought Malpa for $ 3.2 million, a seven-year record.

The collector said, “She was looking for a Mexican job” and “what she loved most” was her dramatic work. He explained that there was a “double portrait” in “Diego yo yo” and pointed out that “there are two works of Frida where Diego and Frida are”.

He supported Kahlo before one of Malpa’s directors: “Frida is here to stay in art history” because “she’s a unique artist, and she is generally one of the greatest masters of Latin American art and art.”


Costandini – Founder and Chairman of Real Estate Developer Consultancy and Consultancy Asset Management – began purchasing works of art in the 1970s.

He founded Malpa 20 years ago, to which he donated about 220 works, and today he makes works of his personal collection available there. The museum, with its own acquisition plan, has about 700 works today.

In parallel, Costandini continued with his personal project of obtaining works, and today in his collection are about 500 pieces, including a collection of photographs.

“My criterion I learned from my teacher Ricardo Estevez was to always buy the best works of the best artists. Don’t buy a lot, buy the good ones, ” he said.

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If we take Malpa and add it to the private collection, there are jobs that will split the earth, ”he said.

He predicted that the “first loan” provided by “Diego & I” would be given to Malpa in 2022, but pointed out that he still needs to evaluate how to express it as he has had the opportunity “recently”. Buy important pieces that have never been on display in a museum.


With the acquisition of “Diego Yo Yo”, Malpa referred to it as “a feast” and warned Argentina that “this is good news” because “there is a company that is constantly betting on Latin American art, regardless of what happens politically.”

As a collector, he considered the acquisition to “inspire” him, and to “add one more part, integration and strengthening to a collection” following the idea of ​​”choosing the best Latin American works to help each other”. “

“The art world has clearly seen an existence and sustainability for more than four decades,” he said.

He thought there were other collectors in Argentina, but they did not have the “general method” he chose to follow. “In collecting, I see a general, social, educational diagonal in which I play,” he said.

Gillian Patton

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