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Kahlo, cubierta por la bandera comunista, fue despedida con grandes honores desde el Palacio de Bellas Artes de Ciudad de México. Photo: Morton.
Kahlo, covered by the communist flag, was given a farewell with great honors from the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Photo: Morton.

The last Goodbye to Frida Kahlo the world didn't see

Unpublished photographs of the Mexican artist's funeral 66 years after her death are up for auction.

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Last week, the Morton Auction House put up for auction a bunch of unpublished photographs of Frida Kahlo's funeral and the farewell given to her by the Mexican people on July 13 and 14, 1954, when her body was laid to rest in the lobby of the Palace of Fine Arts as one of the greatest representatives of Mexican culture. 

Surrounded by flowers and jeweled, Kahlo received the last goodbye of family, friends and political personalities in an environment much less colorful than that of her work, with the black mourning lining the walls, columns and staircases of the Palace. 

In the images, you can see a grieving and saddened Diego Rivera — he would die three years later — the muralists David Alfaro Siqueiros and Lila Álvarez Bravo, and even the former president Lázaro Cárdenas. Also in attendance were singer Concha Míchel, Adelina Zendejas, architect Juan O'Gorman, poet Andrés Henestrosa and Arturo García Bustos, who placed a communist party flag on the coffin causing the cessation of Andrés Iduarte as director of Bellas Artes, since the government of Ruiz Cortines wanted to "keep politics out of the funeral."

In short, there are seven never-before-seen snapshots whose photographer is unknown valued at between $700 and $900. On the back of the pictures you can read notes that frame the funeral acts and the personalities, such as one that read "Srio de Lázaro, son of Lazarus, son of Mugica and other communist cards (sic)" or "Kahlo Frida farewell."

Although during the funeral and memorial service the government avoided — and could not — the communist references to the figure of Kahlo, the party members paid homage to the artist and long lines of admirers and comrades formed on both sides of the coffin and took turns seeing the painter for the last time. 

Frida Kahlo's remains were cremated and deposited in an earthenware toad in the Dolores pantheon, next to the Chapultepec Forest. Today the ashes are in the Casa Azul, where Kahlo created and was happy, and unhappy too, and which reminds thousands of visitors from all over the world of her life and work.

Also for sale at the Morton auction was a set of photographs of aviator Charles Lindbergh, who was the first pilot to cross the Atlantic Ocean from America to Europe on a non-stop, solo flight. The images, taken in Mexico and showing his crashed plane, started at a bid of $355.

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