Frida Kahlo (aka Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderon) is one of the most famous female painters from Mexico. She is best known for her self-portraits that depict the female form and experience, which established a national tradition in Mexican art.
Frida Kahlo was born in her family home, La Casa Azul, in Coyoacan, a village outside Mexico City. Her father was Carl Wilhelm Kahlo, although he changed his first name to Guillermo when he moved to Mexico in 1891. Kahlo’s mother was Matilde Calderon y Gonzalez, whose ancestry included Spaniards and Native Americans. Kahlo was the third of four daughters, and two stepsisters from her father’s first marriage also lived in La Casa Azul. Kahlo suffered from poor health for most of her life due to contracting polio in 1913 and a serious traffic accident in 1925. Kahlo’s official cause of death was a pulmonary embolism, although some historians believe she died of a drug overdose.
Diego Rivera had a great influence on the paintings of Frida Kahlo. They met in 1927 while Rivera was working on a mural for the Public Ministry of Education. Rivera told her she had talent and encouraged her development as an artist. In 1939, Kahlo traveled to France, where her work was exhibited in Paris. She sold The Frame to the Louvre, which was the first time this museum purchased the work of a Mexican artist born in the twentieth century. Diego on my Mind is generally considered one of Kahlo’s most representative works of oil on masonite. The Suicide of Dorothy Hale is also a well-known example of this type. Kahlo’s work didn’t receive wide acclaim during her life. It wasn’t until the late 1970s that her work began to achieve recognition with the development of the Neomexicanismo style in Mexico. A retrospective of Kahlo’s work in London in 1982 also contributed to her popularity. Love’s Embrace of the Universe, Earth, (Mexico), I, Diego, and Mr. X lotl is featured on the 500-peso note issued by the Bank of Mexico in 2010.
- Leon Trotsky stayed in the Kahlo’s family home when he traveled to Mexico in 1937.
- The largest exhibition of Kahlo’s works was held as part of the one-hundredth anniversary of her birth.
- Frida Kahlo became pregnant at least three times, although she was never able to give birth due to her injuries from a traffic accident.