Frida Kahlo painted this work after an operation in New York that she thought would free her from the sequels left by polio and the traffic accident she suffered when she was a sixteen-year-old girl. One of her most cutting-edge and important works is this self-portrait Tree of Hope, stand firm, a compendium of her personal demons, a work in which she beautifully mixes her agony with the hope that kept her alive. He painted it while having an affair with Josep Bartolí, a Catalan Republican who escaped from the clutches of the Gestapo and ended up in New York, where he made his way as a painter, and where he met Frida Kahlo, who was then living a period where the excruciating pain barely let her work.
In 2015, the Doyle auction house in New York auctioned off 25 handwritten letters that Frida addressed to Bartolí. In one of them he becomes his savior… «I remembered your last words and started painting. I worked all morning and after lunch until there was no more light. But then I felt exhausted and everything hurt (…) For you I have returned to painting, to living, to being happy. You are my tree of hope. And on July 13, like today, but in 1954 he died at the age of 47 in Coyoacán (Mexico), prey to the suffering that had accompanied him all his life. He said goodbye with the last words he left in his diary… “I look forward to leaving and I hope never to return.”