Material Girl: Madonna’s Frida Kahlo Collection

“Self-Portrait with Monkey”

Frida Kahlo was an early 20th century Mexican painter whose legendary self-portraits suggest a woman who wasn’t afraid of a little self-promotion, or at least of showing her face to the world.

Madonna is a very successful singer, dancer, actress and businesswoman who has amassed her millions by constantly marketing herself both onstage and off. Is it any wonder that the world-famous entertainer’s private art collection includes several of Kahlo’s works? After all, Madonna’s blonde hair and blue eyes have been the focal point of the cover art from each of her 12 full-length albums.

Madonna keeps hush about her collection, but it’s known that she owns Kahlo’s 1932 self-portrait My Birth, which literally depicts the artist being born by what appears to be self-delivery, and her slightly more conventional Self Portrait with Monkey from 1940. In 2005, she loaned both paintings to London’s Tate Modern art gallery for the museum’s Kahlo exhibit.

It’s also thought that Madonna owns Kahlo’s 1943 work Roots, which finds the artist as a tree breaking free from the ground. Madonna is reportedly the private buyer who purchased Roots for $5.6 million at a Sotheby’s auction.

“I worship Frida Kahlo paintings because they reek of her sadness and her pain,” Madonna said in Andrew Morton’s 2001 biography about the singer.

“Madonna sees her own life reflected in the painter’s resistance to conformation with sexual norms,” Morton added.

So can we expect Madonna to appear alongside a monkey on her next album cover? Perhaps as a half-woman/half-tree?



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