Frida Kahlo, who was barely known during her lifetime, is one of the most famous female artists today. With her unique works, all connected to her life experiences, she managed to touch people’s hearts.
“I don’t paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality.”– Frida Kahlo
- Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter during the 20th century. She was born on July 6th, 1907 as the daughter of a German photographer and a Mexican illiterate mother. When she was six years old, she got poliomyelitis but still did a lot of sports to keep healthy. In September 1925 she was the victim of a bus accident, where a steel handrail impaled her through the hip. Now she had to wear a full body cast and a steel corset. To kill the time, she drew a lot in this period.
Life and artistic career
- At 19 years she drew her first self-portrait, the “Self-portrait with velvet dress”. She learned how to walk again, but she suffered her whole life and she could no longer have children. She used her physical and mental pain in her paintings. For example in the painting “My Birth“, which shows her miscarriage. In August 1929 she married the artist Diego Rivera who was 20 years older and already famous all over the world because of his political revolutionary paintings. In 1939 they divorced because of his infidelity and she tried to find refugee in affairs, alcohol, and painting. However, she never really got rid of him and married him a second time in 1940. Only in 1953, she received her first solo exhibition in her hometown. While bedridden at the time, Kahlo did not miss out on the exhibition’s opening. On 13th July 1953, she died of a pulmonary embolism. Her friends didn’t exclude the possibility of suicide since she apparently already tried to kill herself before. But there was no evidence.
- Frida Kahlo is one of the world’s most famous Latin American painters. Her moving life was one of the reasons for her great success because her bad fate made her art what it is. Another factor was her passionate nationalism, which, at that time, was very unusual for women with indigenous roots. She often wore traditional clothes. 55 of her 143 paintings are self-portraits. On all of them, she has a serious facial expression, which is, however, contrasted by bright colors. Her unibrow and mustache became the trademark of her paintings, though these traits weren’t as distinctive as she made them seem. To describe her emotional condition, she often painted animals such as monkeys in her self-portraits. Frida’s pets were two monkeys, a parrot, three dogs, two turkeys, an eagle, a black cat, and a fawn. To whom she gave lovingly names. She also did this to not scare off her customers with shocking images. In 1940, Frida gave meaning to every color she used, for example, yellow meant madness, illness, and fear, while cobalt blue meant electricity, purity, and love.
Image source: wikiart.org