Frida Kahlo

1907 - 1954

Full Biography >> German Biog. >> Beautiful Frida Kahlo Prints >> Latest Updates >> Painting Gallery >> Photo Gallery >> Diary of Frida Kahlo >> Frida Kahlo Her Photos >> Taschen 2013 Book Calender Scans >> Frida Kahlo Taschen Basic Art Book Scans >> Whitney Chadwick - Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement Book Scans >> Frida Kahlo Books - Smartphone Page >> Frida Kahlo Masterpieces Book - Smartphone Page >> Diaries of Frida Kahlo - Smartphone Page >> I Paint My Reality Book - Smartphone Page >> Search Site

Related Artists

Canvas Prints >> Frida Kahlo >> leonora carrington >> nusch eluard >> leonor fini >> remedios varo >> dorothea tanning >> valentine hugo >> jacqueline lamba breton >> rita kernn larsen >> dora maar >> lee miller >> meret oppenheim >> paula rego >> kay sage >> toyen


Biography Texts

Frida's life began and ended in Mexico City, in her home known as the Blue House. She gave her birthdate as July 7, 1910, but her birth certificate shows July 6, 1907. Frida claimed this so because she wanted the year of her birth to cooincide with the year of the outbreak of the Mexican revolution, because her life would begin with the birth of modern Mexico.

At age 6, Frida was stricken with polio, which caused her right leg to appear much thinner than the other. It was to remain that way permanently.

kahloWhen Frida entered high school she was a tomboy full of mischief who became the ringleader of a rebellious group of mainly boys that continually caused trouble in the National Preparatory School. This group pulled many pranks, mainly on professors. It was also in the National Preparitory School that Frida first came in contact with her future husband, the famous Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera. He was commissioned to paint a mural in the school's auditorium.

On September 17, 1925, when she was 18, she was riding a bus in Mexico City when it was struck by a trolley car. A metal handrail pierced her abdomen, exiting through her vagina. Her spinal column was broken in three places. Her collarbone, some ribs, and her pelvis were broken, and her right leg was fractured in 11 places. Her foot was dislocated and crushed. No one thought she would live, much less walk again, but, after a month in the hospital, she went home. Encased for months in plaster body casts, Kahlo began to paint lying in bed with a special easel rigged up by her mother. With the help of a mirror, Kahlo began painting her trademark subject: herself. Of the 150 or so of her works that have survived, most are self-portraits. As she later said, "I paint myself because I am so often alone, because I am the subject I know best."

kahlo Although Frida's recovery was miraculous (she regained her ability to walk), she did have relapses of tremendous pain and fatigue all throughout her life, which caused her to be hospitalized for long periods of time, bedridden at times, and also caused her to undergo numerous operations. She once joked that she held the record for the most operations. Frida underwent about 30 in her lifetime. She also turned to alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes to ease the pain of her physical suffering.

Once she was out and about after her accident, a close friend introduced Frida to the artistic crowd of Mexico, which included Tina Modotti (well known photographer, actress, and communist) and Diego Rivera.

kahlo Diego and Frida were married on August 21,1929. Their marriage consisted of love, affairs with other people, creative bonding, hate, and a divorce in 1940 that lasted only for one year. Their marriage has been called the union between an elephant and a dove, because Diego was huge and very fat, and Frida was small (a little over 5 feet) and slender.

Despite Diego's affairs with other women (one was with Frida's sister), he helped in many ways. Kahlo shared Rivera's faith in communism and passionate interest in the indigenous cultures of Mexico. Rivera encouraged Kahlo in her work, extolling her as authentic, unspoiled and primitive, and stressing the Indian aspects of her heritage. During this period "Mexicanidad," the fervent embrace of pre-Hispanic Mexican history and culture, gave great currency to the notion of native roots. At the same time, being seen as a primitive provided an avenue for recognition for a few women artists. Kahlo, who had Indian blood on her mother’s side, was of Hungarian-Jewish descent on her father’s side. Although initially a self-taught painter, she was, through her relationship with Rivera, soon travelling in the most sophisticated artistic circles. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine that anyone who shared Rivera’s life could have remained artistically naive.

kahlo Presumably because it generated respect and imparted credibility in the art world, Kahlo encouraged the myth of her own primitiveness—in part by adopting traditional Mexican dress—and it stayed with her throughout her career.

During her lifetime, Kahlo did not enjoy the same level of recognition as the great artists of Mexican muralism, Rivera, Orozco, and Siqueiros. However, over the last two decades that has changed and today Kahlo’ s idiosyncratic, intensely autobiographical work is critically and monetarily as prized as that of her male peers, sometimes more so.

Her paintings, rooted in 19th-century Mexican portraiture, ingeniously incorporated elements of Mexican pop culture and pre-Columbian primitivism that, in the 1930s, had never been done before. Usually small, intimate paintings that contrasted with the grand mural tradition of her time, her work was often done on sheet metal rather than canvas, in the style of Mexican street artists who painted retablos, or small votive paintings that offer thanks to the Virgin Mary or a saint for a miraculous deliverance from misfortune.

Frida let out all of her emotions on a canvas. She painted her anger and hurt over her stormy marriage, the painful miscarriages, and the physical suffering she underwent because of the accident.

Kahlo who was so proud of her luxurious facial hair that she painted it right on to her self-portraits.

Frida, despite all of the hurt in her life, was an outgoing person whose vocabulary was filled with 4 letter words. She loved to drink tequila and sing off color songs to guests at the crazy parties she hosted. She loved telling dirty jokes and shocking everyone around her. Frida amazed people with her beauty and everywhere she went, people stopped in their tracks to stare in wonder. Men were fascinated with her, and because of this Frida had numerous, scandal filled affairs.

kahloIn 1936, Rivera, a dedicated Trotskyite, used his clout to petition the Mexican government to give Trotsky and his wife asylum after they were forced out of Norway. Rivera and Kahlo put up the Trotskys in Kahlo's family home, where Kahlo seduced the older man. (She painted a self-portrait dedicated to him that now hangs in Washington's NMWA.)

After Trotsky was assassinated, however, Kahlo turned on her old lover with a vengeance, claiming in an interview that Trotsky was a coward and had stolen from her while he stayed in her house (which wasn't true). "He irritated me from the time that he arrived with his pretentiousness, his pedantry because he thought he was a big deal," she said. . Frida was later arrested for his murder, but was let go. Diego was also under suspicion for the murder, but he was let go as well. Several years after Trotsky's death, Diego and Frida enjoyed telling people that they invited him to Mexico just to get him killed, but no one knows if they were telling the truth or not. They were fantastic story tellers.

The fact is that Kahlo turned on Trotsky because she had become a devout Stalinist. Kahlo continued to worship Stalin even after it had become common knowledge that he was responsible for the deaths of millions of people, not to mention Trotsky himself. One of Kahlo's last paintings was called Stalin and I, and her diary is full of her adolescent scribblings ("Viva Stalin!") about Stalin and her desire to meet him.

Frida also was a bisexual and had affairs with many women including the wife of the surrealist poet, Andre Breton.

kahloAll over the world, people loved Frida. When she went to France, she was wined and dined by Picasso, and appeared on the cover of the French Vogue. In America, people loved her beauty and her work. In Mexico, her homeland, she had many great admirers.

Frida only had one exhibition in Mexico and it was in the spring of 1953. Frida's health was very bad at this time and doctors told her not to attend. Minutes after guests were allowed into the gallery, sirens were heard outside. The crowd went crazy, for outside there was an ambulance accompanied by a motorcycle escort. Frida Kahlo was being carried from it into her exhibition on a hospital stretcher! The photographers and reporters were shocked. She was placed in her bed in the middle of the gallery. The mob of people went to greet her. Frida told jokes, entertained the crowd, sang, and drank the whole evening. The exhibition was an amazing success.

During the same year as her exhibition, Frida had to have her right leg amputated below the knee due to a gangrene infection. This caused her to become deeply depressed and suicidal.

She attempted suicide a couple of times. In 1954, suffering from pneumonia, Kahlo went to a Communist march to protest the U.S. subversion of the left-wing Guatemalan government. Four days later, she died in what may or may not have been a suicide.

No official autopsy was done.

Her last words in her diary read: "I hope the leaving is joyful and I hope never to return".

Texts :: Biog. II

The Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) is one of the most important 20th century painters, and one of the few Latin American artists to have achiebed a global reputation. In 1983 her work was declared the property of the Mexican state.

Kahlo was one of the daughters of an immigrant German photographer and a Mexican woman of Indian extraction. Her life and work were more inextricably interwoven than in almost any other artist's case.

Two events in her life were of crucial importance. When she was eighteen, a bus accident put her in hospital for a year with a smashed spinal column and fractured pelvis. It was in her sick bed that she first started to paint. Then, aged twenty-one, she married the world-famous mural-artist Diego Rivera. She was to suffer the effects of the accident her whole life long, and was particularly pained by her inability to have children.

kahlo Her arresting pictures, most of them small-format self-portraits, express the burdens that weighed upon her soul: her unbearable physical pain, the grief that Rivera's occasional affairs prompted, the sorrow her childlessness caused her, her homesickness when living abroad and her longing to feel that she had put down roots, profound loneliness. But they also declare her passionate love for her husband, he pronounced sensuousness, and her unwavering survival instinct. Diego Rivera once described her work as being

"as loveble as a beautiful smile and as cruel as the bitterness of life".

Source: Frida Kahlo (PostcardBooks)

Texts :: German Biog.

Die Mexikanerin Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) ist eine der bedeutendsten Malerinnen des 20. Jahrhunderts und zahlt zu den wenigen weltbekannien Kunstlern des sudamerikanischen Kontinents. 1983 wurde ihr Werk zum mexikanischen Nationalbesitz erklart.

kahlo Sie war die Tochter eines eingewanderten deutschen Fotograden und einer Mexikanerin indianischen Ursprungs, Wie bei kaum einem anderen Kunstler sind bei ihr Leben und Werk eng miteinander verwoben. Zwei Ereignisse pragten ihre Biographie ganz besonders: Als sie 18 Jahre alt war, hatte sie einen schweren Busunfall und mubte mit zertrummerter Wirbelsaule und gebrochenem Bein fur ein Jahr ins Krankenhaus. Im Krankenbett begann sie zu malen. Mit 21 heiratete sie den weltberuhmten mexikanischen Wandmaler Diego Rivera. Gegen die Folgen des Unfalls mubte sie ihr Leben lang ankampfen. Besonders schmerzlich war fur sie, dab sie keine Kinder bekommen konnte. In ihren eindringlichen Bildern - meist kleinformatige Selbstportraits - malte sich Frida Kahlo buchstablich alles von der Seele: ihre unertraglichen korperlichen Schmerzen, ihren Liebeskummer wegen gelegentlicher Affaren Diegos, ihre Trauer uber die Kinderlosigkeit, das Heimweh im Ausland, die Sehnsucht nach Verwurzelung, ihre Einsamkeit, abre auch die leidenschaftliche Liebe zu ihrem Mann, ihre starke Sinnlichkeit und den trotzigen Uberiebenswillen. " ...liebenswert wie ein schones Lacheln und grausam wie die Bitterkeit des Lebens ...", charakterisierte Diego Rivera einmal ihr Werk.

Source: Frida Kahlo (PostcardBooks)

Quick Links

frida kahlo self-portrait with thorn cotton camvas print

frida kahlo the broken column cotton canvas print

frida kahlo what the water gave me cotton canvas print

Diary of Frida Kahlo

kahloMexican painter Frida Kahlo (1919- 1954) kept this haunting journal during the last decade of her life, preoccupied with death, beset by declining health, isolation and repeated surgical operations resulting from the bus accident that severely damaged her spine, pelvic bones, right leg and right foot at the age of 18. This facsimile edition reproduces her handwritten, colored-ink entries and accompanying self-portraits, sketches, doodles and paintings, which fuse surrealism, pre-Columbian gods and myths, biomorphic forms, animal-human hybrids, archetypal symbols.

Ardent entries and love letters mirror her obsessive devotion to her husband, painter Diego Rivera. In his moving introduction, Mexican critic/novelist/poet Fuentes relates Kahlo's images of pain, loss, mutilation and transcendence to Mexico's historic cycles of revolution and reaction. Lowe, author of the study Frida Kahlo, ably places the journal in the context of the painter's shattered life.

Sprinkled with irony, black humor, even gaiety, and augmented with translations of the diary entries plus commentaries and photographs, this volume is a testament to Kahlo's resilience and courage.

© 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Available: amazon.com

Frida Kahlo :: Her Photos

kahlo kahloWhen Frida Kahlo died in 1954, her husband Diego Rivera asked the poet Carlos Pellicer to turn her family home, the fabled Blue House, into a museum. Pellicer selected some paintings, drawings, photographs, books and ceramics, maintaining the space just as Kahlo and Rivera had arranged it to live and work in. The rest of the objects, clothing, documents, drawings and letters, as well as over 6,000 photographs collected by Kahlo over the course of her life, were put away in bathrooms that had been converted into storerooms.

This incredible trove remained hidden for more than half a century, until, just a few years ago, these storerooms and wardrobes were opened up. Kahlo's photograph collection was a major revelation among these finds, a testimony to the tastes and interests of the famous couple, not only through the images themselves but also through the telling annotations inscribed upon them. Photography had always been a part of Kahlo's life-her father Guillermo Kahlo was one of the great Mexican photographers at the beginning of the twentieth century-and her collection constitutes a roll call of great photographers: Man Ray, Brassai, Martin Munkacsi, Pierre Verger, George Hurrel, Tina Modotti, Edward Weston, Manuel and Lola Alvarez Bravo, Gisele Freund and many others, including Kahlo herself. It is likely that many of the unattributed photographs in the collection were taken by her, though we can only be sure of the few that she decided to sign in 1929.

Frida Kahlo: Her Photos allows us to speculate about Kahlo's and Rivera's likes and dislikes, and to document their family origins; it supplies a thrilling and hugely significant addition to our knowledge of Kahlo's life and work.

Available: amazon.com

Latest Updates

Nov. 13: New site design. Hope you like it!

Nov. 13: New Gallery added.

Nov. 13: Frida photographs added.

Update :: March 2013

Added: below a few low quality scans of my photographs of Frida Kahlo. All from that treasure trove of a book: Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement. I have to say that over the years it has become my favourite book and the one I go back to time and again. So many wonderful artists with so many illustrations, photos of them relaxing and working and informative texts throughout...when I'm feeling down I just open it and never fail to find something which takes me out of myself. Extraordinary rememedies for ordinary woes. Superb! Also added biog. & gallery of that underrated female surrealist Kay Sage Tanguy. Same too for the mercurial Toyen

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo, c. 1935.
Photo: Manuel Alvarez Bravo (Low Quality Scan)
Source: Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo, 1931.
Iconic Photo: Imogen Cunningham (Low Quality Scan)

This is an iconic photo of Frida Kahlo. Cunningham has caught the haunting eyes that bewitch the viewer in so many of her Self Portraits. She would have been in her early 20s at the time; a beautiful young woman with those eyes troubled and troubling.

Source: Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, c. 1938.
Photo: Nicholas Murray. Collection of the George Eastman House, Rochester, New York (Low Quality Scan)
Source: Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement

For scans without watermarks e-mail here

Update :: Feb. 2013

Added: photographs of Frida Kahlo contemporary, Nusch Eluard. Didn't have alot on this page before and would like to add more as she really was a fascinating woman. If you have any thoughts or facts on her please e-mail here and I will add them as she doesn't seem to be adequately covered on the internet.

Added: Kahlo Canvas Print Index page for smartphones here.

Recommendation

Highest Recommendation: I've got in some of the Frida Kahlo cotton canvas prints and they are absolutely wonderful. They have a depth that no ordinary print could possibly have. That is why I am selling each with not only a full money back guarantee but also an offering of paying your return postage (uninsured mail) should you be dissatisfied with the print for whatever reason. That is how confident I am that you will love the print.

Take the tour and view all the images by clicking here.

Links

Full Biography >> German Biog. >> Beautiful Frida Kahlo Prints >> Latest Updates >> Painting Gallery >> Photo Gallery >> Diary of Frida Kahlo >> Frida Kahlo Her Photos >> Taschen 2013 Book Calender Scans >> Frida Kahlo Taschen Basic Art Book Scans >> Whitney Chadwick - Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement Book Scans >> Frida Kahlo Books - Smartphone Page >> Frida Kahlo Masterpieces Book - Smartphone Page >> Diaries of Frida Kahlo - Smartphone Page >> I Paint My Reality Book - Smartphone Page

Related Artists

Canvas Prints >> Frida Kahlo >> leonora carrington >> nusch eluard >> leonor fini >> remedios varo >> dorothea tanning >> valentine hugo >> jacqueline lamba breton >> rita kernn larsen >> dora maar >> lee miller >> meret oppenheim >> paula rego >> kay sage >> toyen

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