Seek & You Shall Find ... Frida Kalho's Half Sister?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Today while I had a mini break from my little ones I decided, rather than staying home and cleaning or some such nonsense, I would actually venture out into the world. I have an extensive list of items I am looking for - items I know I can find if I troll the vintage market: thrift stores, estate sales and the like.

One of my must have items that has long been on top of my list is a portrait painting. But not any old portrait painting. I wanted a mid-century era painting of a woman from about the chest up or maybe sitting on a chair with her hands folded on her knee. Specific, I know, but that's why it remained on my list for, oh, so long.

But, alas, TODAY WAS MY DAY! In denial of the rain I ventured out in flip-flops and a dress, on my long walk up Hawthorne Street in Portland, on my way down to a big vintage market, I ducked into a store because I spotted some nice dining chairs, also on my list. They weren't what I wanted but I decided to look around. And all the way in the back corner I spotted my painting. I loved it. On cue the store clerk asked if I needed any help, I said, "yes, can you tell me how much this painting is?" She happily replied it had just been marked down. I hate this moment by the way, where you see something you love and you wait for the price, just knowing you are going to have to despondently say "oh, okay, thank you" and move on because it's out of your budget. But she said "36 dollars!" And I said, "Can you put a sold sign on that?" I was completely sold on it at that price. She then reached behind the painting and pulled out a photo of the person whom the portrait was made of, this immediately compounded on my desire to run out of the store with my new treasure.

She then went on to say "well, I don't know . . . but there is a possible story on this painting. It was purchased from a local mansion and it is said to be a portrait of one of Frida Kahlo's half sisters." At this point I just wanted to throw her my 36 bucks and chat after I had this fabulous painting in my now trembling hands. The owner of the store came up to wrap it in plastic as to keep it safe from the rain and shared the story with me again - though he said they were unable to verify it from the research they did.

Now I don't know how I feel about this story exactly, the blue eyes in the painting are throwing me off a bit. And the slight knitted unibrow is giving me the feeling someone liked to weave long yarns. But on one hand it's way more fun to believe it and no matter this fanciful story will ever be attached to the painting. And at 36 dollars I can't say that they were trying to sell it up with the story, so who knows, maybe this is a painting and photo of one of Frida Kahlo's half sisters? I will say when I was retelling this story to my 14 year old son, as an effort to sell him on the painting looming in our house; when I mentioned Diego Rivera, (Frida's lover, whom also bedded her sister Christina), the painting fell off the wall! So maybe I got even more for my money and I got a ghostly roommate as well!

The signed name looks something like Ricci or Ricgi or Ricai or maybe even Richi... any guesses? Calling all art historians!! ... You can kind of see the signature in the right corner of the picture below.


  1. Oh wow. Six degrees of Frida. And she's beautiful! I'm so totslly jealous. Awesome.

  2. Congratulations!!! Successful treasure hunts tickle me "silly putty pink"!

  3. Nice find!! I LOVE that there is a story that goes along with it!

  4. What a fabulous find! Congratulations! And to find a pic to go along with it - priceless!

  5. Amazing story! I was JUST trying to find info on them- it just seems so SAD they were sent away. Now I desperately want to know what happened to them! :)


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