Happy Birthday, Frida Frida Kahlo
would be 113 on Monday
. The Mexican activist and artist
was born in 1907 in Coyoacán, Mexico. A vocal leftist and supporter of the Mexican Revolution, Kahlo is most known for her self-portraits, as well as her fashion
, deliberately mixing Western and indigenous styles.
For those of you who do not know Frida, here are some basics. First, she is perhaps the most well known Mexican artist of our time. Second, if you ever saw her work, you would never forget it.
Artist Frida Kahlo was considered one of Mexico's greatest artists who began painting mostly self-portraits after she was severely injured in a bus accident. Kahlo later became politically active and married fellow communist artist Diego Rivera in 1929. She exhibited her paintings in Paris and Mexico before her death in 1954.
It is difficult to spend any time at all in Mexico City without Frida or Diego's name coming up in a tour, bar, museum, or conversation.
(From Biography) In 1929, Kahlo and famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera
married. Kahlo and Rivera
first met in 1922 when he went to work on a project at her high school. Kahlo often watched as Rivera created
a mural called The Creation in the school’s lecture hall. According to some reports, she told a friend that she would someday have Rivera’s baby.
Kahlo reconnected with Rivera in 1928. He encouraged her artwork, and the two began a relationship. During their early years together, Kahlo often followed Rivera based on where the commissions that Rivera received were. In 1930, they lived in San Francisco, California. They then went to New York City for Rivera’s show at the Museum of Modern Art and later moved to Detroit for Rivera’s commission with the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Kahlo and Rivera’s time in New York City in 1933 was surrounded by controversy. Commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller
, Rivera created a mural entitled Man at the Crossroads in the RCA Building at Rockefeller Center. Rockefeller halted the work on the project after Rivera included a portrait of communist leader Vladimir Lenin
in the mural, which was later painted over. Months after this incident, the couple returned to Mexico and went to live in San Angel, Mexico.
Never a traditional union, Kahlo and Rivera kept separate, but adjoining homes and studios in San Angel. She was saddened
by his many infidelities, including an affair with her sister Cristina. In response to this familial betrayal, Kahlo cut off most of her trademark long dark hair. Desperately wanting to have a child, she again experienced heartbreak when she miscarried in 1934.
While she never considered herself a surrealist, Kahlo befriended one of the primary figures in that artistic and literary movement, Andre Breton, in 1938. That same year, she had a major exhibition at a New York City gallery, selling about half of the 25 paintings shown there. Kahlo also received two commissions, including one from famed magazine editor Clare Boothe Luce, as a result of the show.
Kahlo received a commission from the Mexican government for five portraits of important Mexican women in 1941, but she was unable to finish the project. She lost her beloved father that year and continued to suffer from chronic health problems. Despite her personal challenges, her work continued to grow in popularity and was included in numerous group shows around this time.
In 1953, Kahlo received her first solo exhibition in Mexico. While bedridden at the time, Kahlo did not miss out on the exhibition’s opening.
Arriving by ambulance, Kahlo spent the evening talking and celebrating with the event’s attendees from the comfort of a four-poster bed set up in the gallery just for her.
After Kahlo’s death, the feminist movement of the 1970s led to renewed interest in her life and work, as Kahlo was viewed by many as an icon of female creativity.
Please google her works. You will see that you have seen her great work. It is unique, inspiring, and always relevant. Are they self-portraits, or ??
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