Born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón on July 6, 1907, in Coyocoán, Mexico City, Mexico. She changed the spelling later to Frida and would claim she was born in 1910 to link herself with the Mexican Revolution.
Kahlo's art reflects her life which was filled with sickness, injury and chronic pain. At age six, Kahlo contracted polio and had to spend 9 months confined to her bedroom. She created an imaginary friend who would later be reflected in a painting called "The Two Fridas." She wrote in her diary, "I experienced intensely an imaginary friendship with a little girl more or less the same age as me . I followed her in all her movements and while she danced, I told her my secret problems." She did recover from the illness, but she limped when she walked because the disease had damaged her right leg and foot.
In 1925, Kahlo was injured badly when the school bus she was on collided with a streetcar. A metal pole pierced into her body breaking her spine. During a long recuperation period, Kahlo discovered a love for painting. Using a lap easel her mother gave her with a mirror hung above her bed she painted some of her earliest self-portraits.
Kahlo regained the ability to walk, but would be tortured by chronic pain and fatigue throughout the rest of her life. She had more than 30 operations for her injuries. She said "I never lost my spirit I always spent my time painting."
Kahlo's works often are characterized by their portrayals of pain. Out of 143 paintings, 55 are self-portraits which often incorporate symbolic portrayals of physical and psychological wounds. She insisted, "I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality." European influences that include Realism, Symbolism, and Surrealism. Many of her works are self-portraits that symbolically express her own pain and sexuality.
After her recovery, Kahlo joined a group of Mexican artists who introduced her to well-known Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera. Rivera immediately recognized her talent and encouraged her to continue painting. Rivera suggested she wear traditional Mexican clothing which included long, colorful dresses and exotic jewelry.
Rivera and Kahlo married in 1929, but their 25-year marriage was a stormy one which included many affairs by both of them. Kahlo was romantically linked with movie stars, artists, and politicians of many nationalities, many of whom came to visit her at the casa azul -- the blue house
-- in Coyoacan.
Kahlo's complex marriage was often reflected in her paintings, such as one entitled, "Frida y Diego."
Although they divorced in 1939, they remarried in less than a year. During the separation she painted The Two Fridas
. The paintings shows two versions of the artist sitting side by side, with both of their hearts exposed. That same year Kahlo suffered another hospitalization because her right leg had to be amputated below the knee due to a gangrene infection.
She was admired by French surrealist André Breton and dined with Picasso when she visited Paris. "Really I do not know whether my paintings are surrealist or not, but I do know that they are the frankest expression of myself," Frida once wrote. "Since my subjects have always been my sensations, my states of mind and the profound reactions that life has been producing in me, I have frequently objectified all this in figures of myself, which were the most sincere and real thing that I could do in order to express what I felt inside and outside of myself."
1932, Kahlo incorporated more graphic and surrealistic elements in her work. In her painting, Henry Ford Hospital (1932), http://media.walkerart.org/7772480.jpg
a naked Kahlo appears on a hospital bed with several items—a fetus, a snail, a flower, a pelvis, and others—floating around her connected to her by red, veinlike strings. As with her earlier self-portraits, the work was deeply personal, telling the story of her second miscarriage
During her life she had three exhibitions: one in New York in 1938, one in Paris in 1939, and finally one in Mexico City in 1953.
1944 her painting, The Broken Column shows the life of pain she leads http://calitreview.com/images/Kahlo_...olumn_1944.jpg
Her health was so bad doctors advised her not to attend her 1953 exhibition. Kahlo would not be dissuaded and minutes after the exhibition started, a wail of sirens filled the air and an ambulance arrived. Frida Kahlo was wheeled out on a stretcher and placed in the center of the gallery where she held court all evening.
Deeply depressed, Kahlo was hospitalized again in April 1954 because of poor health, or, as some reports indicated, a suicide attempt. She returned to the hospital two months later with bronchial pneumonia. No matter her physical condition, Kahlo did not let that stand in the way of her political activism. Her final public appearance was a demonstration against the U.S.-backed overthrow of President Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala on July 2. About a week after her forty-seventh birthday, Kahlo died on July 13 at her beloved Blue House. There has been some speculation regarding the nature of her death. It was reported to be caused by a pulmonary embolism, but there have also been stories about a possible suicide.
The last entry in Kahlo's diary read, "I hope the leaving is joyful and I hope never to return."
"Really I do not know whether my paintings are surrealist or not, but I do know that they are the frankest expression of myself,"
Frida: The Biography of Frida Kahlo
I didn't write this for the monthly artist but if you want it for one you can use it. I started reading about Frida and then got into my own health problems and her art spoke to me even more so I wanted to share her with others.
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