Sale 167 Lot 324
Frida Kahlo's own personal copy of The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. III (New York: Thomas Nelson, 1905) containing multiple inscriptions, collages and drawings by Kahlo.
Following the index, Kahlo has inscribed, in black crayon, the following: "Pues si, Frida Kahlo. Auxocromo Cromoforo." The dates 1922 and 1945 are inscribed to the left of a circle within which is written the number 23. To the right of the circle are the numbers 12 and 35 and an infinity symbol. Beneath the series of numbers is the word "always."
The book is divided into three parts. While certain poems, such as the "The Man that was Used Up" (p. 44) in the first and second part of the book are marked with dried flowers, Kahlo restricts her collages to the poems within the third part, which begins with Poe's iconic poem, "The Raven" (p. 9). On the page facing the poem, Kahlo has written in the same black crayon "Auxocromo Cromoforo." The title of the poem, along with a dried leaf, have been painted over with bold red paint. A similar collage appears on p. 21 with the poem "Ulalume." Just outside the red painted collage she has again written "Auxocromo Cromoforo." The third collage appears on pp. 28-29, the poem "Annabel Lea." In this instance, four leaves are painted over along with all of the text on these two pages. "Auxocromo Cromoforo" is written at the bottom of p. 28. The artist's final inscription, with the same two words repeated, is written beneath the last stanza of the final poem, signalling the end of the collection.
"Auxocromo Cromoforo," the phrase repeated throughout, refers to a poem Kahlo wrote in her diary (p. 20) regarding her husband, Diego Rivera. In the poem, she writes: "Mi Diego, Esejo de la noche ... tue te llamaras Auxocromo el que capta el color. Yo Cromoforo - la que da el color. Tu eras todas las combinaciones de los numeros." [My Diego, Mirror of the Night ... You could be called Auxocromo - the one who takes color. I Cromoforo - the one who gives the color. You are all the combinations of the numbers.]
Dr. Luis-Martin Lozano, a noted art historian and expert on the works of Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism, who has published extensively on the works of Frida Kahlo, has personally examined the item and has provided the following in depth interpretation of the number sequence: Frida Kahlo met Diego Rivera in 1922; she wrote in the book in 1945; she met Diego when she was 12 (actually 15, but she claimed she was born in 1910 to appear younger) and he was 35; the 23 refers not only to the years between when she wrote in the book and she met Diego (1922-1945), but also to their difference in age. These numbers and connections are coupled with the word "always" and the symbol for "infinity."
The inscriptions and collages in Kahlo's personal copy of The Works of Edgar Allan Poe form an extraordinary record of the artist's creative process in addition to revealing an important literary influence of her work. The item demands further study of Frida Kahlo's motivations, her selection of specific works, and the pointed references to her relationship with Diego Rivera.
Estimate $ 20,000-30,000
Property from a Private Texas Collection
Teresa Proenza, Secretary to Frida Kahlo; Victor Torez Proenza; Private Collection, Texas.
The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Portrait. NY, 1998.