More than 1,000 works from a private collection featured in two books on the bisexual Mexican artist Frida Kahlo are being investigated amid claims they were forged.

Kahlo occupies a hallowed place in Mexico’s cultural landscape, with her works protected under national law. The Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Trust filed a complaint with the Attorney General saying the works were not authentic.

The works appear in two books, Finding Frida Kahlo and The Labyrinth of Frida Kahlo: Death, Pain and Ambivalence after being held in a private collection of paintings supposedly donated by Kahlo to a carpenter.

During her convalescence following a serious bus accident in 1925, in which Kahlo received injuries from which she never fully recovered, she turned to art and later married the muralist Diego Rivera.

In their tempestuous relationship, both had numerous affairs, Kahlo with both men and women, including the singer Josephine Baker.

At a news conference in Mexico, art historians and representatives of the Trust expressed their desire for the books to be removed from the market.

James Oles, an assistant professor at Wellesley College, Massachusetts, said: “This will infect all the studies of Frida Kahlo with a virus, with bad, inaccurate information.”

In examining the paintings, suspicion was aroused by spelling errors and the low quality of some of the works, but the publisher, Princeton Architectural Press, said it would continue to sell the books, saying that while the pieces had not been authenticated, they were “still being researched.”