Press Release

AUCTION RECORD SET FOR FRIDA KAHLO

New York, New York
THE ARTIST’S ARRESTING SELF-PORTRAIT ‘DIEGO Y YO’ 
ACQUIRED BY THE EDUARDO F. COSTANTINI COLLECTION*
FOR $34.9 MILLION 

IN SOTHEBY’S NEW YORK $283 MILLION 
FIRST OF ITS KIND MODERN EVENING AUCTION

BRINGING RUNNING TOTAL FOR THIS WEEK’S SALES TO $959 MILLION 
WITH FIVE MORE AUCTIONS STILL TO COME 

IN ITS FIRST APPEARANCE AT AUCTION IN NEARLY 25 YEARS 
CLAUDE MONET’S COIN DU BASSIN AUX NYMPHÉAS
ACHIEVES $50.8 MILLION
Julian Cassady Photography

“Pent up demand is fully unleashed on a new stream of great supply, married tonight with the excitement of being back in the room, where we saw strong bidding”  Helena Newman, Sotheby’s Chairman Europe & Worldwide Head of Impressionist & Modern Art:

  • Sale totaled $282.9 million (est. $192.2-266.9 million), bringing running total for this week's sales to $959 million with five more auctions still to come 

  • 98% sold

  • Four auction records set for Enrico Donati, Frida Kahlo, Pierre Soulages and for a ceramic by Pablo Picasso 

  • More than 50% of offerings sold for prices in excess of high estimate

  • Sale attracted participants the world over, with registrants from 35 countries and strong bidding from both Asia and Russia, including: Salvador Dali (Lot 15); Claude Monet (Lot 26 and 35);, Alfred Sisley (Lot 34), and Tamara de Lempicka (Lot 42)

  • Nine works sold to in-room bidders and 10-minute bidding battles

  • Nearly 50% of works made their auction debut tonight

Two standout works capture the world’s attention: 

“Frida Kahlo's status as a global cultural icon is indisputable, and tonight - with this outstanding result -- she took her place center stage among the titans of the art market”

Julian Dawes, Sotheby’s Co-Head of Impressionist & Modern Art in New York"


  • Frida Kahlo’s arresting self-portrait Diego y yo (Diego and I) sold for $34.9 million, shattering the artist’s own previous high of $8 million. A modern art masterpiece, the painting also set a  benchmark this evening for a work of Latin American art, as Kahlo took up the mantle from her husband Diego Rivera who, until tonight, held that record with a price of $9.8 million. Executed in 1949, the enigmatic portrait last appeared at auction in 1990 when it sold for $1.4 million at Sotheby’s New York.

    Having remained in the same private collection for almost 25 years, Claude Monet’s Coin du Bassin Aux Nymphéas was pursued by participants from Asia and the Americas before realizing $50.8 million (estimate in excess of $40 million). A further three paintings by the artist were offered, bringing the combined total to an above-estimate $76.2 million. 

    *Tonight, the portrait was acquired by Eduardo F. Costantini Collection, a renowned collector with a longstanding commitment to supporting Latin American art and artists, and founder of Malba, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires. Further information here

Sale sees strong demand for full spectrum of art from across the last 80 years

Tonight saw the debut iteration of this new-format ‘Modern Auction’ at Sotheby’s, in which, for the first time, works of the 19th century European vanguard were offered side-by-side with their American heirs of the 20th century: 

Five bidders battled for more than 11 minutes to drive the price for Pierre Soulages’ Peinture 195 x 130 cm, 4 août 1961 to $20.1 million - a new auction record for the artist (est. $8-12 million).

After a six-minute battle between five pursuers, Picasso’s La Chouette doubled its high estimate, selling for $3.9 million -- a record for a Picasso ceramic (est. $1-1.5 million).

Collectors clamored for tonight’s offerings of works by Alexander Calder, which together realized $24 million - almost double the combined estimate of $12.5-18.7 million. Four bidders locked horns for more than 11 minutes for the artist’s gargantuan Untitled before it sold to applause at $19.7 million - the second highest price for a work by the artist at auction. Mr J., a rare example within a limited corpus of large-scale oil paintings by the artist, also achieved $1.1 million (est. $500-700,000), while Thirty Inches of Red realized an above-estimate $3.3 million (est. $2-3 million).

In its auction debut, Edvard Munch’s Soloppgang I Åsgårdstrand (Sunrise in Åsgårdstrand) surpassed its high estimate to sell for $5.3 million (est. $2-3 million). Utilizing non-invasive infrared reflectogram Sotheby’s in-house scientific researchers recently discovered an underdrawing of figures that could very well be related to Munch’s most famous work, The Scream.

An early painting by Richard Diebenkorn, titled Berkeley #6, eclipsed its high estimate to bring $5.1 million (est. $3/4 million) - sold to benefit the Kislak Family Foundation. The sale comes just months after Sotheby’s New York set the record for Diebenkorn as part of The Anne Marion Collection Evening Auction ($27.3 million).

Having remained in the same family collection for almost 80 years, participants from the US and Asia drove the final price for Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Jeune fille à la corbeille de fleurs to $12.9 million (est. $6-8 million).

L'Àngelus by Salvador Dali - which once belonged to the artist’s friend and surrealist painter Georges Hugnet -  led an offering of eight surrealist works after selling for $10.7 million (est. $4-6 million). A further seven works by artists of the global surrealist movement found new homes, together achieving a combined total of $26.5 million. 

Three collectors competed for Tamara de Lempicka’s portrait of a child holding a teddy bear Portrait de Mademoiselle Poum Rachou, driving the work to sell for $7.8 million – surpassing its $5 million high estimate.

Sotheby’s New York Major Sales Continue Throughout the Week 

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