Lot 14

Frida Kahlo Photogrpahy Portrait Collection Edition by Leo Matiz

A collection of twelve enormous, beautifully conservation-matted black and white photographic prints, each hand numbered 2/5, with an embossed seal from the Leo Matiz Foundation. The photographs are housed in a custom-crafted slipcase covered in burnt orange silk fabric. There is one double-portrait of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, one of Frida with village people in a street scene, and the rest are portraits of Frida alone. Paper size: H20 x 14 ¾ inches, Image size varies: H14 x 10.5 inches to H10.5 x 10.5 inches, Mat size: H23 5/8 x 19 ¾ inches, Custom Slipcase: H26 x 22 inches

Included in this edition are the following photographs:

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Mexico
Frida Kahlo: Portrait Under the Sky
Frida Kahlo: Shadows
Frida Kahlo with Hands Folded
Frida Kahlo: Hands on Waist
Frida Kahlo: On the Steps
Frida Kahlo: Buying Fabric, Mexico
Frida Kahlo, Coyoacán, México, 1946
Frida Kahlo was one of the most enigmatic and fascinating characters of the 20th-century. A talented artist in her own right, she was also a muse, a champion, a style and trend-setter, and a woman. Her all-too-short life was jam-packed with drama, and she continues to fascinate well into the 21st-century and into the future. Leo Matiz spent time in Mexico in the 1940s and 1950s, and as an artist, he was bound to fall into company with two if the leading lights of Mexican culture at that time: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. The portraits in this collection reflect the beautiful combination of his photographic eye and her fascinating allure.

About Frida Kahlo:

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), Mexican Painter.
From 1926 until her death, the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo created striking, often shocking, images that reflected her turbulent life. Kahlo was one of four daughters born to a Hungarian-Jewish father and a mother of Spanish and Mexican Indian descent, in the Mexico City suburb of Coyoacán.
She did not originally plan to become an artist. A polio survivor, at 15 Kahlo entered the premedical program at the National Preparatory School in Mexico City. However, this training ended three years later when Kahlo was gravely hurt in a bus accident. She spent over a year in bed, recovering from fractures of her back, collarbone, and ribs, as well as a shattered pelvis and shoulder and foot injuries. Despite more than 30 subsequent operations, Kahlo spent the rest of her life in constant pain, finally succumbing to related complications at age 47.

During her convalescence Kahlo had begun to paint with oils. Her pictures, mostly self-portraits and still lifes, were deliberately naive, filled with the bright colors and flattened forms of the Mexican folk art she loved. At 21, Kahlo fell in love with the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, whose approach to art and politics suited her own. Although he was 20 years her senior, they were married in 1929. This stormy, passionate relationship survived infidelities, the pressures of Rivera's career, a divorce and remarriage, and Kahlo's poor health. The couple traveled to the United States and France, where Kahlo met luminaries from the worlds of art and politics; she had her first solo exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York City in 1938. Kahlo enjoyed considerable success during the 1940s, but her reputation soared posthumously, beginning in the 1980s with the publication of numerous books about her work by feminist art historians and others. In the last two decades an explosion of Kahlo-inspired films, plays, calendars, and jewelry has transformed the artist into a veritable cult figure.

About Leo Matiz, courtesy the Leo Matiz Foundation:

Leo Matiz is the considered “most important Colombian photographer of the 20th century”. Born in 1917 in Aracataca, Colombia, Matiz documented more than 60 years of North and South American history in photographs. His work includes photographs of rural and urban landscapes, abstract forms found in architecture and nature, in addition to portraits of well-known individuals in the fields of art and politics and narrative photographs of native Latin Americans. Although Leo Matiz traveled his entire life covering four continents and experiencing the different cultures, people and events, he was never far from his passion for art, which included drawing, painting, writing, and foremost photography.

While Matiz was still a teenager his first caricatures were published in the Colombian magazine, Civilización, and he later founded his own publication called Lauros. In 1937 the editor of the daily newspaper, El Tiempo, urged Matiz to work as a photographer for the newspaper and provided a camera as incentive for Matiz's work. Two years later he began his first tour of Colombia as a photographic reporter completing special reports for El Tiempo, El Espectador and for the Bogotá based magazine La Estampa. He traveled to Panama, traversed Central America on foot and went on to work in Mexico. Matiz lived in Mexico for approximately ten years, from 1940 and collaborated with numerous artists, such as Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Gabriel Figueroa on Mexican film projects and David Alfaro Siqueiros on the mural "Cuauhtemoc against the Myth". Also, he photographed Frida Kahlo, characterizing her strength and sensitivity in a number of images. Ten photographs of Frida Kahlo will be on view, some taken in the Blue House, others in her daily life, in addition to personifying poses that capture her mystique. Many of these photographs have never before been published in any of the eleven books on Leo Matiz.

In 1948 Matiz was living in New York City and worked as a photo-journalist for Life magazine. In that same year, the United Nations gave him the job of documenting the intense conflict in the Middle East. During these assignments he witnessed and photographed assasinations and shootings, while experiencing his own personal pain and suffering. By the end of the 1940's Leo Matiz was presented the award for Best Photo Journalist of Mexico and was also considered one of the ten best living photographers in the world.

In the 1950's Leo Matiz opened the first studio/gallery in Bogotá, Colombia, which soon became an integral part of the bohemian scene for artists, writers and intellectuals. In 1951 Matiz launched the premiere exhibition of paintings by a 19 year old artist, Fernando Botero. This year, 2001, marks the 50th anniversary of the first Botero exhibition in Matiz's studio. Westwood Gallery will exhibit vintage photographs of Botero at the beginning of his career, along with never- before-published or exhibited photographs of Botero's first paintings, strongly influenced by Pablo Picasso's 1905 and 1906 Expressionist paintings.

From the 1950's through the 70's, as industrial development took place throughout the Americas, Matiz photographed abstract forms that his eye observed in construction sites, shipyards, bridges, machinery and nature. The angles and geometric forms play with light, creating shapes and repetitious patterns within each structure.

In 1978 Leo Matiz lost the sight in his left eye, his camera eye, when he was accosted by a thief trying to steal his photography equipment. He persevered and his true love for the camera continued throughout his life. Matiz was honored by the French government in 1995 with a Knighthood of Arts and Letters for his extraordinary contribution to the art of photography. In the last decade, there have been numerous international exhibitions of his work. The most recent exhibition in the United States was at the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington D.C. which ended in March 2001. Matiz died in 1998 leaving us thousands of images as a contribution to the historic and artistic legacy of photography.

His daughter, Alejandra Matiz, established the Leo Matiz Foundation dedicated to the preservation of archives of Leo Matiz and furthering educational and cultural activities based on his work.


Estimate: $30,000 - $40,000


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