Frida Kahlo – one of the most outstanding artistic personalities of the last century.
Frida Kahlo was born in 1907 in a village on the outskirts of Mexico City, her mother being Mexican, and her father German Jewish. Her father moved to Mexico in 1891.
Frida’s mother, Matilde, was very religious, and Frida’s education was strict. Later, she described her mother as “kind, active and intelligent, but also calculating, cruel and fanatically religious”.
Frida was very close to her father and spent days helping him in his photography studio, where he had a taste for art. But art was not Frida’s first choice, because she was fascinated by science and biology and dreamed of becoming a doctor.
The beginning of her disabilities
When she was six years old, Frida suffered from polio, which made her right leg thinner and shorter than her left. Later in life, Frida became well known for wearing long, colorful skirts to hide her disability.
Due to the illness, Frida had to take a break for a few months from school. When she returned to class after being away for so long, the other children assaulted her for her disability.
The accident that changed Frida’s life forever
When Frida was 18, she was traveling with her boyfriend in a wooden bus when it collided with a streetcar.
Frida was almost killed in the accident, when an iron bar entered her hip and came out on the other side, fracturing her spine and causing her other major injuries. Although she eventually recovered, she had to have 35 surgeries in her lifetime, but she lived in chronic pain.
During her recovery, Frida Kahlo began painting
During her lifetime, Frida Kahlo created 143 paintings, including 55 self-portraits. Emotional self-portraits often showed both physical and psychological wounds in the artist’s life, depicting her sad existence.
Frida even painted the experience of one of the many miscarriages she experienced – probably because of the accident that affected her uterus, making pregnancy impossible.
The Tumultuous Marriage to Diego Rivera
Frida Kahlo had a tumultuous marriage to the famous Mexican painter Diego Rivera. Frida determined Diego to leave his second wife and marry her in 1929.
Frida’s 10-year marriage to Diego was wild. She had relationships with both men and women, and Diego even had an affair with Frida’s younger sister, Cristina.
They divorced in 1939 but remarried a year later. Although the second marriage was as troubled as the first, Frida remained married to Diego until her death.
Frida Kahlo is Present at Her First Solo Exhibition
In 1953, towards the end of her short life, Frida was delighted to open her first solo exhibition in Mexico. At the time, she was resting in bed, following the doctor’s recommendations and no one expected her to show up at the exhibition, but Frida made sure she was there. She arrived at the gallery in an ambulance and ordered to be brought on a stretcher and moved to a bed, where she could enjoy the opening.
Frida Kahlo’s Death
In 1954, Frida Kahlo died at age 47. She is reported to have died from a pulmonary embolism, but some suggest she may have died through suicide or perhaps overdose.
A few days before her death, she wrote in her diary: “I hope the exit is joyful – and I hope never to return – Frida”.
Her turbulent life, including the bus accident, the unusual marriage, the love affairs, have inspired many books and movies over the years including the 2002 biographical film ‘Frida’, starring Salma Hayek. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CTM7FcY1LE
Read this article to find out more about other great artists including Frida Kahlo: https://www.pov21.com/my-most-favourite-painters-of-all-time-a-reminder-of-how-beautiful-art-is/
So, have you ever heard of this amazing artist and feminist figure?