63 Years After Frida Kahlo's Death One Great Mystery is Still Unresolved


A painting by Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, called "La Mesa Herida" (The Wounded Table) was sent as a gift to the former USSR but was confiscated by the Soviet government.

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The painting which was sent as a "gift of friendship" was described by the Soviet government of having examples "of a decadent bourgeois formalist art," similar to the works of 19 other Mexican artists such as Raúl Anguiano, Luis Arenal, Olga Acosta and José Chávez Morado, among others.

According to Helga Prignitz, a researcher at the Ibero-American Institute in Berlin and someone who is considered the most important international specialist in the life and work of Frida Kahlo, the oil on wood painting was last seen in 1954. In her book "Hidden Frida Kahlo, The Lost, Destroyed or Little-Known Works" she says the painting depicted feet of the table as human and in four points there were vulvas bleeding, which recalls the abortions that the artist had endured. Next to her she painted her nephews and sinister guests: the Judas of Holy Week and an image related to suicide.


When the painting was sent to the USSR to be part of the collection of the Museum of Western Art in Moscow, upon arrival, they found that the museum was closed.

The works of the Museum of Western Art in Moscow were sent to two precincts. In 1952, the Mexican embassy requested that "La Mesa Herida" be loaned out to be part of an exhibition of Mexican fine arts in Paris, but eventually it was abandoned because transportation was very expensive.

In 1954, after the death of Kahlo, Diego Rivera requested the painting to exhibit it in Poland, the place where it was last seen.

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow has denied having the painting and it is not known if Poland returned the painting or not.

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Today it remains a mystery that many art historians have tried to solve. Read more about it here.