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Background on the Fake Frida - Noyola Dispute
OPINION - Daniel Friedman
This introduction and the documents listed above discuss the history, provenance, and authenticity of a large, important collection of more than 1200 paintings, drawings, letters, notebooks, notes, and personal mementos attributed to Mexican Artist Frida Kahlo and owned by Carlos Noyola and Leticia Fernandez. The collection was purchased, studied, and tested by qualified art experts across multiple disciplines for more than four years before its existence was brought to the public by two books, "Finding Frida" (Princeton Press, 2009), and "The Labyrinth of Frida Kahlo" (CIAM Press, 2008).
The authenticity of the collection as well as the character of its owners have both been attacked aggressively and without technical support, studies, or professional analysis by two groups: a group of Frida Kahlo "experts" and gallery owners in New York who have named themselves the sole world authority on the authenticity of Kahlo's works, and the Fideicomiso, a Mexican trust that controls certain art interests in Mexico, and who also claims authority over Kahlo art authentication as well as rights to use of the name "Frida Kahlo" in Mexico. Remarkably, to date not a single member of these groups has actually seen the collection, not a single member has examined technical authentication studies performed to date, nor has any of this group conducted their own studies that would follow well established procedures for art authentication.
Here we provide background references and information about the Noyola's collection in order to bring to public light a more accurate description of this important and personal material that is in many respects unlike the better-known Frida Kahlo works presently in museums and other private collections around the world.
The items in this collection were never intended by Kahlo for museum display, but rather, the collection is of archival notes, diary entries, drawings and very personal mementos that provide a new, important, and deeper insight into the life, thoughts, opinions, inspirations, and suffering of Frida Kahlo.
The material is replete with details about the life, friends, trips, and experiences of Frida Kahlo in her life with Diego Rivera, extending from early in her life to the time shortly before her death when Kahlo passed on this material to a close personal friend and wood-carver/sculptor Abraham Lopez Jiminez.
The owners have questioned the authority of the Fideicomiso and its qualifications to make any pronouncements about the authenticity of the Noyola/Fernandez discovery, and similarly questioned the pronouncements of the New York specialists who have not only failed to examine the collection, failed to follow any of the professionally accepted steps in art authentication, and who have failed to disclose their own economic conflicts of interest in art authentication.
© Copyright 2013 Author Daniel Friedman, All Rights Reserved.
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