The only known recording of the iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo may have been found by researchers.
Efforts are being made to authenticate the short clip from a 1950s radio programme found in the archives of the country’s national music library, involving sound library officials, engineers, audio experts and people still living.
If verified, it would be the first and only known audio recording of Frida Kahlo’s voice.
Kahlo, who spent long periods bed-ridden after a traffic accident in her youth, created some 200 paintings, sketches and drawings – mainly self-portraits.
Her bold, distinctive style went on to secure her cult status, with images of her and her work reproduced on everything from T-shirts and murals to jewellery and shoes.
She remains an influential figure in modern art some 65 years after her death.
Announcing the discovery of the recording, the Mexican government was cautious saying that while initial studies suggested it was the voice of Kahlo, this could not yet be confirmed.
Secretary of culture Alejandra Frausto said: “It’s a finding that has many elements that can be identified as the probable voice of Frida Kahlo, but it isn’t 100% certain.”
The director of the Frida Kahlo Museum, Hilda Trujillo, said “there’s still a long way to go” to verify the voice.
“I personally think that the art world has to be very strict in its judgement and can’t rush to assumptions,” Ms Trujillo said.
The 90-second audio clip from a 1950s pilot episode of the Mexican radio programme, The Bachelor, apparently captures the artist as she recites a description of her husband, the painter Diego Rivera, which she had written in 1949.
In it, the woman’s voice says of Rivera: “He’s a large child, massive, with a friendly face and sad look.
“His bulging, dark, very intelligent and large eyes are difficult to contain, almost out of their sockets because of swollen eyelids protruding like a frog.”
Kahlo is not directly identified by the narrator, but her voice is introduced as “she who no longer exists”.
Library officials believe the programme was released in 1955 or 1956, a year or two following Kahlo’s death at the age of 47 after suffering gangrene and depression.
Ms Trujillo said: “I would have imagined that it would be a bit deeper and worn out.”
She noted that Kahlo was very sick at the end of her life and was a heavy smoker and drinker.
Pavel Granados, director of the Fonoteca, the national music library, said: “Frida’s voice has been a great enigma…(It has been) a constant search since the Fonoteca started.”