La Casa — Frida Kahlo

Here is the fourth portrait of our series: Frida Khalo who represents the fuchsia color of our CASA yarn.

Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderon was born on July 6, 1907 in Cocoyan, a suburb of Mexico City. Painter, Frida Khalo is one of the greatest figures of Mexican art of the 20th century.

Author of several hundred paintings, including many self-portraits, she is famous for her realistic paintings, which reflect her passions, her suffering, but also Mexico.

She is the third daughter of Wilhelm Kahlo, a photographer of Hungarian origin and Matilda Calderon, a Mexican with Indian blood.

Baby, she was breastfed by an Indian nurse, because her sister was born only eleven months after her. At the age of six she was stricken with poliomyelitis, and as a result of this disease, her left leg became thinner and her foot did not grow as it should. As a young girl she tried to hide this deformity under trousers and men's clothes, later under long skirts and Tehuana Indian dresses.

Frida decides to study medicine. In 1925, at the age of eighteen, his school bus collided with a tram. Several people died at the scene of the accident and Frida Kahlo suffered several injuries so serious, in the stomach, in the leg and in the right foot, in the pelvis and in the spine, that the doctors doubted that she could survive.

During her long convalescence, to escape boredom and pain, she began to paint with brushes and oil colors lent by her father and using an easel made especially to adapt to her bed. His mother installs a mirror for him above his bed. This is how she began to make her famous self-portraits, in particular the “Self-portrait with a velvet dress”, in 1926. In 1928, having recovered almost all her mobility, Frida joined the Communist Party. That same year, she met the well-known painter Diego Rivera and showed him some of his paintings.

This is the beginning of a tumultuous love affair with this man twenty-one years her senior. In 1929, they married and settled the following year in San Francisco, where Frida met many artists. She suffered two miscarriages in 1930 and 1932. She painted “Henry Ford Hospital or the flying bed” during her convalescence and wished to return to Mexico. His art is influenced by different movements such as realism and symbolism.

Riviera, her husband, who had already had several adventures with other women, had an affair with Cristina, Frida's sister, in early 1935. Wounded, Frida leaves the common home, then leaves for New York with two American friends to escape the heavy situation.

At the end of the year, when the affair between Diego and Cristina was over, she returned to Mexico. From this moment, Frida Kahlo was also going to have extramarital affairs with men and women. The couple eventually divorced in 1939 to remarry in 1940.

In 1939, Frida Kahlo exhibited abroad for the first time. André Breton tells him that he has organized everything for an exhibition in Paris. But when she arrives with his paintings, she must realize that in fact he hadn't done anything yet. It was through Marcel Duchamp that an exhibition, with Mexico as the theme, was nevertheless organized at the last minute.

She will keep very bad memories both of the surrealists and of France; She writes: “They make me vomit. They're so fucking intellectual and depraved that I really can't stand them any longer (…) It was worth coming all the way here just to see why Europe is rotting and all these good-for-nothings are the cause of all the Hitlers and Mussolinis…”.

Frida Kahlo's paintings are increasingly appreciated and it was during the 1940s that she painted the bulk of her work. Unfortunately, his condition is getting worse and worse. She is condemned to work lying in bed or in a wheelchair. Because of the pain in her right leg and spine, but also because of the sedatives she has to take, it is increasingly difficult for her to paint.

Suffering from severe pneumonia, Frida Kahlo expired on the night of July 13, 1954. The last words written in her diary read: "With joy, I await the departure... and I really hope not to return..."

Sandra and Valentine

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.