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Frida Kahlo still stirs controversy in Mexico

June 27, 2007 |  3:53 pm

Looks as if Frida Kahlo, one of the Modern era’s most enigmatic artists, has been keeping a few more mysteries tucked inside her tehuana outfits.

Since opening in Mexico City two weeks ago, the massive exhibition honoring the ever-popular painter has been drawing overflow crowds, critical praise and controversy. On Monday, the Mexico City daily newspaper Reforma published a story in which Raquel Tibol, a respected art critic and author of a new biographical study of Kahlo’s husband, Diego Rivera, raised questions about the authenticity of two of the works in the Kahlo restrospective at the Palace of Bellas Artes.

One of those works, a portrait of one of Kahlo’s first lovers, Alejandro Gómez Arias, which she painted in 1928, reportedly was discovered in a piece of furniture by his heirs after his death in 1990. Gómez Arias was riding with Kahlo during the fateful bus accident that fractured her spine.

The painting was included in the large Kahlo show hosted by the Tate Modern in London in 2005. Tibol has challenged the provenance of that work as well as an undated drawing, “Portrait of Isolda Pinedo Kahlo.”

“I consider that they don’t correspond to the hand of Frida,” Tibol is quoted as saying in Reforma. But two of the exhibition’s curators have countered that the disputed works come from respected collections and that their authenticity is supported by documentary evidence.

Posted by Reed Johnson in Mexico City