Art Industry News: A New Documentary Suggests Diego Rivera Helped Frida Kahlo to End Her Life + Other Stories

Plus, a federal court will hear dispute over a loaned Van Gogh and a Tintin comic sells for more than $2 million.

A painting by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) entitled "Self portrait with Braid" at the Mudec (Museo delle Culture - Museum of Culture) in Milan. Photo by Miguel Medina/AFP via Getty Images.

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know on this Monday, February 13.


Court to Consider Van Gogh Painting Dispute – The Detroit Institute of Arts has been ordered to hold a recently loaned painting by Van Gogh after the Brazilian collector Gustavo Soter claimed he actually owns the work but had lost track of its whereabouts after lending it to a third party. A federal court of appeals will hear the dispute, despite being urged to dismiss the case by the Association of Art Museum Directors. (ARTnews)

Photography Swindler Defrauded Collectors – The F.B.I. is investigating Wendy Halsted Beard, who used her late father’s photography gallery to run a criminal scheme targeting multiple elderly collectors, whom she scammed out of several million dollars worth of art. Court documents have revealed that Beard faked medical emergencies while defrauding her clients, who never saw any profits from the consigned works. (New York Times)

Diego Rivera May Have Assisted in Frida Kahlo’s Death – Frida Kahlo’s husband Diego Rivera may have helped her end her life, it has been suggested by Rivera’s grandson the art journalist Juan Rafael Cornel Rivera in Becoming Frida Kahlo, a new BBC documentary about the Mexican artist. Kahlo had been living with chronic pain and depression for some time, especially in the period after her leg had to be amputated due to an infection. (Guardian)

Architectural Digest Is the New Vogue – The house and decor-centered magazine has replaced the fashion bible as the most influential publication amid a surge of interest in celebrity home tours and skyrocketing housing costs. The pandemic and a shift to working from home has increased the appetites for house tours of the likes of Dakota Johnson, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Lily Allen. (Guardian)


Museum Cofounder’s Outsider Art Hits the Block – As the market for Outsider Art continues to grow, a major collection will hit the auction book this March 9. The late Susann Craig, a champion of the arts in Chicago who had a hand in founding the city’s Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, was a key supporter of artists Nick Cave, Lee Godie, Roger Brown, and Gladys Nilsson. (TAN)

Mendes Wood Is Moving to Paris – Brazilian gallery Mendes Wood DM, currently located in São Paulo, New York and Brussels, has announced a new space in Paris. Though it specializes in forward-thinking contemporary art, the gallery will be housed in a newly renovated 17th-century building in the historic Place des Vosges in the Marais district. (Press release)

Rockbund Art Museum Taps a Director – X Zhu-Nowell has been named the new artistic director of the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai, after nearly a decade as assistant curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York where she was responsible for the celebrated 2021 exhibition “Wu Tsang: Anthem.” (Artforum)


Tintin Comic Sells for Record Price – The Belgian cartoonist Hergé, best known as the creator of Tintin, set a new auction record on Friday when an original drawing from 1942 sold at French auction house Artcurial for over €2 million ($2 million). The work first featured on the cover of the book Tintin in America. (Guardian)

The original drawing from the full-page cover of the 1942 edition of the Tintin in Americacomic book by Belgian cartoonist Hergé sold for €2,158,400 ($2,303,250) including fees at Artcurial on February 10, 2023. Image courtesy of Artcurial.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.