The first painting Frida Kahlo ever sold has been acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. In 1929, American industralist Jackson Cole Phillips bought the work directly from Kahlo, and the painting remained in his family until its purchase by the MFA.
It joins the 12 other Frida Kahlo paintings currently on display in American public collections.
The painting, titled Dos Mujeres, depicts two maids Kahlo knew since childhood. "We're still finding out more about them," Rhona MacBeth, conservator of paintings at MFA, told NPR. The women were indigenous Mexicans with olive skin and Indian features, and they stand against dense, green foliage.
The work was painted in 1928, three years after a debilitating streetcar accident left Kahlo with a permanently damaged spine, right leg and pelvis. MacBeth believes the painting may depict the maids who took care of Kahlo during her recovery.
Both Kahlo and Diego Rivera signed the back of the painting, dating the signatures in July 1929. "[The date is], interestingly enough, the year after the painting was made," MacBeth said. "It's one month before she marries Diego Rivera."
The museum did not disclose how much they paid for the painting, but the current record for a Kahlo at auction is $5.6 million.
The work can be seen from January 27 to March 1 in the Carol Vance Wall Rotunda, and it will be put on permanent display in the Art of the Americas wing later this year.