A mysterious painting by Frida Kahlo reappears after more than half a century
La mesa herida is one of the Mexican artist's most important works, but it disappeared in 1955 without a trace.
"Bourgeois, formalist and decadent", this is how the Soviets described La mesa herida, the most colossal of the paintings that Frida Kahlo made as a donation to her comrades and which they rejected outright.
A terrible and beautiful oil painting -like all of the artist's- the painter appears dressed in a traditional Tehuana costume sitting in the middle of a table with splashes of blood and escorted by a papier-mâché skeleton and a pre-Columbian character. Frida represents herself in two ways, with her self-portrait and through the table, and puts the viewer on a theatrical stage with a curtain and two children on the left side of the table, while a deer appears at the other end.
The painting was returned to Mexico, then traveled to an exhibition in Europe where it was lost. It was in 1955, in Warsaw (Poland), as part of a Mexican painting and graphic exhibition in the capital a year after Kahlo died and Diego Rivera made the negotiations to send the painting.
A few days ago, La mesa herida reappeared to everyone's surprise. It was announced that it was going to be auctioned in Galicia (Spain) after more than half a century of mysterious evaporation.
The piece measures 1.21 by 2.24 metres, which makes it a rare piece in the artist's career alongside The Two Fridas, as most of her works are smaller formats because she used to paint them lying in bed.
According to Spanish art merchant Cristian López Márquez, co-owner of The Billion Art, a company dedicated to buying and selling art, this jewel of surrealism had passed through two private collections before being acquired by its current owner, whose name has not been revealed.
"In 1956, two years after the painter's death, her husband, Diego Rivera, wanted to recover the painting with the support of his friend Ignacio Márquez Rodiles, who was one of those responsible for the disappearance, as well as being in charge of handling the painting between Mexico and the Soviet Union," he told La Voz de Galicia.
The work, which is estimated to be worth between 40 and 50 million Euros, is not a forgery and its owner, according to the merchant, is looking for a buyer "within European art circles, where great collectors of works are made with paintings of this style."
"Today, 95% of the works on sale in the world are forgeries, but this is the original painting because it has been analyzed by experts. First, in the owner's own house, who later decided to put it in a high security vault, where it remains. The painting is in perfect condition, something that could worry the author's followers, who have been waiting for years for it to reappear," he added.
Márquez also said that the work still bears the slightly deteriorated labels that attest to La mesa herida's participation in three exhibitions, including the International Exhibition of Surrealism held in Mexico City in 1940.