Frida Kahlo 'lost archive' denounced as a 'fake'

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The Independent Culture

The Art Newspaper reports that a large number of leading Frida Kahlo scholars have denounced a collection of 1,200 artifacts purporting to be the "lost archive" of the celebrated Mexican painter as a hoax.

Between 2004 and 2007, Carlos Noyola and Leticia Fernandez, a couple who own an antiques shop in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, amassed a large collection of oil paintings, diaries and archive material which they attribute to Frida Kahlo. However, according to the Art Newspaper , a group of leading Kahlo scholars wrote a letter to Mexican culture officials and the press saying, "all the documents and works are fakes". Carlos Philips Olmedo, a member of the trust that looks after Kahlo's copyright, has stated that the trust refuses to recognise the collection as authentic Kahlo works.

The collection is the subject of a new book, Finding Frida Kahlo , by Barbara Levine and Stephen Jaycox. The book's publisher, Princeton Architectural Press, describes it as "an astonishing lost archive of one of the twentieth century's most revered artists".

The publishers also responded to claims that the collection is a hoax stating that questions of authenticity are addressed in the book. While the authors of the book, and the collectors themselves, have not ruled out the possibilty that the collection is fake, they are vouching for its authenticity until proven otherwise.

James Oles, a Mexico City based art historian, is not so insouciant. "This is a perversion of Frida Kahlo. It's just like the 'Hitler diaries' that threatens to change history. And it's pernicious because she was complex and there were all these fictions that circulated around her," he told the Art Newspaper.