A Spanish art dealer claims to have found the long-lost Frida Kahlo painting La Mesa Herida (The Wounded Table), first exhibited in 1940 and lost in 1955, subsequently becoming the subject of an international search.
The oil painting – a self-portrait dealing with Kahlo’s pain following her separation from the muralist Diego Rivera – was last seen and photographed in a 1955 exhibition in Warsaw. Now though, the dealer Cristian López alleges that it is sitting in a warehouse in London, ready to be sold to anyone offering more than €40 million (or $45 million).
However, scholars have dismissed the claim that the “holy grail” is, in fact, the real thing.
Art historian Helga Prignitz-Poda has pointed out that there are “clear differences” between the work that is for sale and photographs of the original, according to the Associated Press, adding that there are similarities between the €40 million offering and previous, inaccurate replicas.
Susana Pliego, another art historian who has worked on Kahlo’s archive for years, agrees that the unearthed painting is likely fake. Pliego also says that “Fridamania” – which has often seen the artist herself turned into a commodity – contributes to the attempted sale of fakes: “Because her paintings are sold so expensively, someone makes a proposal to see if anyone falls for it.”
Nevertheless, López – who isn’t widely-known in the art world – suggests that “time will give us the truth.”
“Whoever proves genuine interest and the ability to pay the figure of €40 million can spend as much time as wanted with their experts analyzing the work.”