Edgar Allan Poe book decorated by Frida Kahlo could bring $20,000
A beaten-up copy of The Works of Edgar Allan Poe is expected to sell for over $20,000 at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago on August 9.

It is no ordinary used book, however, as it belonged to celebrated Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, who covered the book with doodles, inscriptions, paint and collaged leaves.

To Frida, the book provided an outlet for her to engage in dialogue with Poe's mysterious and macabre poetry, and the result is one of the most intriguing artist's books to appear on the market.

LiveAuctioneers will provide Internet live bidding.

The most interesting inscription appears at the beginning of the book, where Frida has the written following in crayon: "Pues si, Frida Kahlo, Auxocromo Cromoforo, 1922, 1945, 23, 12, 35, always."

A close reading, offered by Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernist expert Luis-Martin Lozano, points directly to Kahlo's relationship with her husband, Diego Rivera:

Frida Kahlo met Rivera in 1922; she wrote in the book in 1945; she met Diego when she was 12 (actually 15, but she claimed she was born in 1910 to appear younger) and he was 35; the 23 refers not only to the years between when Frida wrote in the book and when she met Rivera (1922-1945), but also to their difference in age.

These numbers and connections are coupled with the word 'always' and the symbol for infinity.

Frida Kahlo decorated Works of Edgar Allan Poe

'Auxocromo Cromoforo', a phrase repeated at the end of selected poems throughout, further alludes to Frida's relationship with Rivera; the phrase first appeared in a poem Frida wrote in her diary, which translates:

"My Diego, Mirror of the Night ... You could be called Auxocromo - the one who takes color. I Cromoforo - the one who gives the color. You are all the combinations of the numbers."

"The inscriptions and collages form an extraordinary record of the artist's creative process," notes Hindman's director of Books and Manuscripts, Mary Williams. "Kahlo's works are exceptionally rare.

On the occasion one does appear at auction, prices quickly exceed $200,000, with the highest price ever fetched being $5.6m in May 2006. "The present collaged work is without precedent at auction," Williams added.

"We expect the artist's book to exceed its presale estimate of $20,000-$30,000."

The book was previously in the collection of Teresa Proenza, Diego River's secretary and close personal friend of Frida Kahlo.

Edgar Allen Poe books are valuable collectiblesin their own right of course. One collector whose prized possessions include Poe artefacts is actor Johnny Depp.


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