Experts dismiss dealer's claim to have long-lost Kahlo work

Experts dismiss dealer's claim to have long-lost Kahlo work

PanARMENIAN.Net - Scholars in the work of surrealist Frida Kahlo have searched for more than six decades for “The Wounded Table,” a 1940 oil painting illuminating her pain over the breakup of her marriage to muralist Diego Rivera that hasn’t been seen since an exhibition in Poland.

And the historians strongly reject the idea that the mystery of its whereabouts has been solved, as claimed by a Spanish art dealer who says the painting is now sitting in a London warehouse awaiting a buyer willing to spend more than 40 million euros ($45 million).

Experts consulted by The Associated Press have concluded that published images of the work now on sale show nothing more than a copy of Kahlo’s painting.

Helga Prignitz-Poda, an art historian who has fruitlessly tried to track down the long-lost painting, said that there are clear differences between the work for sale and old photographs of the original and that there are similarities between the offered work with inaccurate replicas based on those old images.

In addition, she said, Kahlo did the painting on wood and not on canvas. The work for sale is described as a canvas painting.

Cristian López, the Spanish art dealer who says he represents the anonymous owner of the painting, stands firm in defending its authenticity.

“Time will give us the truth,” López said during a phone conversation in which he offered few details on the painting.

López, who is little known in the art world, said specialists have endorsed the painting’s authenticity, but he declined to identify them.

“Whoever proves genuine interest and the ability to pay the figure of 40 million euros, can spend as much time as wanted with their experts analyzing the work,” López said.

“The Wounded Table” was unveiled at the International Surrealism Exhibition in 1940 in Mexico City. It includes a self-portrait of Kahlo at a long table, flanked by a Holy Week Judas and a monster that embraces her, while the two sons of her sister stand at one end and her pet fawn is at the other. Blood flows from knots of the wood table, which is considered to represent the artist’s anguish of the just concluded divorce from Rivera.

Kahlo donated the painting to the Soviet Union in 1945 for a planned Mexico room at the Museum of Western Art in Moscow, but Soviet art officials disdained surrealism as decadent and the project was dropped. The Mexican works ended up in a cellar.

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