At 10am, the first part of the controversial symposium “Finding Frida” took off. The owners of the Noyola Collection Carlos Noyola and Leticia Hernandez de Noyola started the presentation talking about how they met sharing their love and dedication to art collecting and to their Art and Antiques store located in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. After telling us how proud they are of their children who followed in their steps, they went on to tell us how Frida Kahlo got between them to never let go and how they share a passion for her works like nobody they know. The Noyola’s are here at the Dallas Art Fair to vindicate themselves by corroborating the authenticity of the works of Frida Kahlo which they have gathered throughout the years. They printed a book called “Finding Frida Kahlo”. They are also trying to reassert us by showing a video of how they have obtained validation from several sources including Arturo Garcia Bustos, Arturo Estrada, Chavela Vargas, Rina Lazo and Diego Maria Alvarado Rivera.
After proudly playing the video, they were immediately questioned by James Oles about the documentation supporting the provenance of the works. James Oles is a professor of art history at Wellesley College, curator of Latin American Art and researcher of the Frida Kahlo archives at the Casa Azul Museum in Mexico City. Trying to be as unbiased as possible, I really wanted for the Noyola’s to prove their point. Who doesn’t want this collection to be authentic? Nobody. But there are very valid issues that overcloud the provenance and authenticity of the collection. Followed by James Oles was Mary Ann Martin. Mary Ann Martin is the owner and director of Mary Ann Martin Fine Art in New York City and she is one of the leading dealers of Latin American Art in the United States. She was asking the Noyola’s about how in the 90’s, they mentioned the source of the provenance of the collection to one newspaper as being from Manuel Marque and later on they told a different newspaper that the source was Abraham Jimenez Lopez. The question confused the Noyola’s; they seemed unorganized and struggled to answer the question as though they did not understand it. Their advisor Jed Paradies came into their rescue only to be shut down by moderator Jason Edward Kaufman pointing out the uncertainty of their rationale of where the artworks ultimately come from. After the symposium, we walked into the salon where 56 pieces from the Noyola collection were exhibited. Within 15 minutes, there were basically two groups; one consisting of the Noyola’s explaining why the collection is authentic and where they got it from and the arguments to prove their claims.
Dr. Salomon Grimberg
The other group gathered first around Dr. Salomon Grimberg who is the co-author of the Frida Kahlo catalog raisonné “Frida Kahlo, Das Gesamtwerk” and one of the leading experts of her work. Later on, another group gathered around James Oles who was absolutely certain that mostly every piece they were showing was a fake. Oles pointed out how the flag that reads “Viva Trosky” was misspelled (Trotsky is the correct spelling) and how the fact that the Noyola’s obtained 1200 works; 40+ original paintings that no Frida Kahlo nor any Latin American Art expert had ever seen or heard about. These details raised most of his claims. Finding Frida part II comes tomorrow. We will be there and I cannot wait to write about it.