Curator‘s Comments

This self-portrait was originally commissioned by American engineer Sigmund Firestone as one of a pair of self-portraits by Rivera and his wife, the painter Frida Kahlo. Rivera worked on this painting while he was staying at the Santa Barbara home of actress Irene Rich and her daughter, Smith artist-alumna Frances Rich (class of 1931), whom he met late in 1940 while he was working on the mural Pan American Unity for the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco. Rivera accepted the commission to paint a fresco portrait of Frances in January 1941 in Santa Barbara, while she worked on modeling a portrait bust of him. He completed his work first, and then turned to the Firestone commission. Taken by the painting, Irene Rich offered to purchase it, and Rivera agreed, adding a dedication to her on the canvas as “la bella y famosa artista.” Rivera created another version for Firestone, and Irene Rich later gave her painting to the Museum in 1977.


Diego Rivera. Mexican, 1886–1957

Self-Portrait, 1941

Oil on Canvas

Gift of Irene Rich Clifford

ID Number: SC 1977:63-1