MEXICO CITY – Representatives of the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Trust filed a criminal suit on Tuesday for the forgery of 1,200 Kahlo works of art that appear in two books recently published in Mexico and the United States.
“Most of them appear not to be by the artist, because connoisseurs of the artist’s works have said so,” attorney Jose Luis Perez Arredondo told reporters.
The trust charged with protecting the legacy of Kahlo (1907-1954) and her husband functions under the auspices of Mexico’s central bank.
The complaint was filed at the Attorney General’s Office, where members of the press met with experts on the artist’s work and personnel of the Anahuacalli Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo museums.
Perez Arredondo said that the trust’s technical committee decided to file the complaint after hearing the opinion of several experts on the supposed work of Frida reproduced in the publications “Finding Frida Kahlo” and “El Laberinto de Frida: Muerte, Dolor y Ambivalencia” (Frida’s Labyrinth: Death, Pain and Ambivalence) containing illustrated letters, drawings and personal notes.
“We’re not making personal accusations nor are we judging conduct. That is the subject of the lawsuit,” the lawyer said.
At the end of last month, Mexican antique dealers Carlos Noloya and Leticia Fernandez presented the 1,200 works as authentic, while admitting that they were very different from other pictorial works left by the artist.
A 1984 decree in Mexico established that every Kahlo work of art is a national artistic monument, which gives it the protection of federal law and considers any reproduction or sale of such a piece to be for the benefit of the public.
Arredondo believed that now it will be the AG office that must determine whether the works are genuine or not, as well as finding out who the owners are and the possible responsibilities they might have in the possible selling of the objects.
The painter Pedro Diego Alvarado, grandson of Diego Rivera (1886-1957), said that “what is said in the letters (that appear in one of the books) has no relationship with Frida’s universe,” which aroused suspicions that they might be fake.
U.S. art critic and historian James Oles acknowledged that he has not seen the objects personally but said that as they appear in the publications, they appear to be “forgeries done recently with old materials.”
He also said it was incredible that no one at all knew that Frida gave away a “lost archive” containing the wprks in question, that she handed them over to a supposed picture framer, now dead, or that they finally ended up belonging to Noloya. EFE