Frida Kahlo’s Estimated $30 Million Self-Portrait on View in L.A.

·3 min read

Sotheby’s continues to showcase notable works of art inside its Beverly Hills space, a gallery and retail shop that’s open to the public.

Following its inaugural exhibition of select pieces from The Macklowe Collection — unveiled on Oct. 14, featuring Franz Kline, Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol (including Warhol’s 1964 “Sixteen Jackies,” which is alone estimated at between $15 million and $20 million) — at the center of the new display is Frida Kahlo’s “Diego y yo” (Diego and I), the Mexican artist’s self-portrait with Diego Rivera from 1949.

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The painting — estimated in excess of $30 million — is expected to be the most valuable piece of Latin American artwork when it goes for sale in November in New York, according to Sotheby’s. When the piece was last sold by Sotheby’s in 1990, it received $1.4 million, making Kahlo the first Latin American artist to achieve more than $1 million at auction. (The artist’s current auction record is $8 million). “Diego y yo” is on view starting today until Sunday, alongside other selections that include highlights from the collection of Douglas S. Cramer and a Milton Avery work from Estelle and Carl Reiner.

Housed in a 4,300-square-foot 1941 building, Sotheby’s will continue to offer a rotation of exhibitions, while showcasing limited-edition, luxury see-now-buy-now goods. Along with the art, there are sneakers (bedazzled silver Nikes for $4,000 anyone?), handbags (lots of Chanel at the moment), art books, decorative objects and fine jewelry.

“You can buy any of these things and walk out the door,” said Mari-Claudia Jiménez, chairman, managing director and worldwide head of business development of global fine arts at Sotheby’s. “There would be nothing stopping you from walking out with that Chanel bag. And that’s not something that ever happened before at Sotheby’s. Sotheby’s has always been very traditionally an auction model and so this is a new hybrid, which is very exciting for us.”

While the fine arts company has presented a similar concept with pop-ups in East Hampton, N.Y. and Palm Beach, Fla., the Los Angeles destination is on a larger scale.

“Historically, we’ve done seasonal traveling exhibitions, and we want this space to be much more active, and so a collector can come in every week or every month and see something different, whether it’s great paintings on the wall or great luxury items,” said Peter Kloman, Sotheby’s L.A.-based senior vice president and senior fine art specialist.

Sotheby’s also plans to use the space for programming, collaborating with other institutions to offer arts education.

“It’s a place to gather and have experiences, in addition to just coming to see it as if it were a museum,” said Jiménez. “We do want to broaden our audience, and L.A. has an incredible amount of opportunity that we have not yet tapped. I do think people still continue to see us as some sort of this very, very elite auction house — where if you’re not interested in buying a $20 million painting, you shouldn’t even bother — and that’s not at all what we’re trying to portray.”

Located at 350 N Camden Drive (neighboring Christie’s and Gagosian Gallery), Sotheby’s Frida Kahlo presentation is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Next on the agenda, The Strokes’ Fabrizio Moretti will present an immersive installation in late November.

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