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Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo

(1907 - 1954)
Born: Mexico City, Mexico
Style: Surrealism
Famous Works:
  • Frida and Diego Rivera (1931)
  • What the Water Gave Me (1938)
  • The Two Fridas (1939)
Though not well known until decades after her death, Frida Kahlo’s body of work is a treasure of Mexican and modern art. Additionally, the work of Kahlo is a lush visual documentation of a life that was shaped by pain and struggle. Kahlo’s hardships, as well as the development of her unique identity, began early. As a child, she suffered from Polio, and as a teenager was the victim of a debilitating bus accident. The injuries sustained in the accident would be responsible for Kahlo's lifetime of medical problems, leading to numerous surgeries and her inability to bear a child. Confined to her bed after the accident, and with the aid of a special easel, Kahlo began to paint, primarily self-portraits. Kahlo initiated correspondence with Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, who took an interest and helped cultivate her talent. This relationship would turn romantic, and Frida and Diego were married in 1929. Theirs was a union marked by struggle, infidelity and intense artistic inspiration. Frida Kahlo's trademark self-portraits are filled with achingly beautiful forms and metaphors for her physical and mental pain. Striking in their graphic strength and frightening in their power, these paintings record a lifetime. Frida Kahlo's flamboyant dress and native costume, as well as much of the imagery and color in her paintings, clearly displayed her deep love for her Mexican heritage. Kahlo's most substantial moment of recognition during her lifetime came when her friend, Surrealist André Breton, invited her to Paris in 1939 and organized an exhibition of her work. One of her paintings, The Frame, was even purchased by the Louvre. Kahlo's achievements in depicting the brutal sadness of her life, while forging her identity as a powerful and complicated woman, have made her a heroine of the Feminist Art movement. From the 1940s Kahlo was confined to bed, where she continued to paint. Tragically she lived this way until 1954, when she died at only forty seven years of age.
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