Between 1920 and 1940, Nickolas Muray made over 10,000 portraits. His 1938’s portrait of Frida Kahlo, became the best known portrait made by Muray. According to historians, Muray and Kahlo were at the height of a ten-year love affair in 1939 when the portrait was shot.
Their affair had started in 1931, after Muray was divorced from his second wife and shortly after Kahlo’s marriage to Mexican muralist painter Diego Rivera. Their love affair outlived Muray’s third marriage and Kahlo’s divorce and later remarriage to Rivera by one year, ending in 1941. Muray wanted to marry, but when it became apparent that Kahlo wanted Muray only as a lover, not a husband, Muray left for good and married his fourth wife, Peggy Muray. He and Kahlo remained good friends until her death, in 1954.