Few collectors have found themselves in such an enviable position as Jacques and Natasha Gelman, wealthy European refuges who were major patrons in Mexico City at a time when artistic geniuses far outnumbered art-loving millionaires. Being such big fish in such a small pond meant that not only were the Gelmans able to purchase numerous works by the most prominent Mexican artists of the 20th century, they also came know many of them as friends. The results of their forty years of friendship and collecting can be seen in the exhibit, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Twentieth Century Mexican Art: The Gelman Collection, which opened at the Seattle Art Museum in October after stops in San Diego, Phoenix, and Dallas. Here with our review is KUOW art critic, Gary Faigin.
Ah, reputation. The fact that — at least for now — the late Frida Kahlo has eclipsed the fame of all her Mexican contemporaries put together, is due to a combination of factors that neither she nor they could have ever imagined.