Frida Kahlo

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by DylanKrekeler
Last updated 6 years ago

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Arts & Music
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Artist Biographies

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Frida Kahlo

Kahlo, born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón on July 6, 1907, in Coyocoán, Mexico City, Mexico, hadn’t intended on becoming an artist. Having survived a bout with polio as a child she developed an interest in medicine and as a teenager entered a pre-med program in Mexico City.

In 1925, Kahlo was riding on a bus that collided with a trolley car. As a result she suffered a broken spinal column, collarbone, ribs, pelvis, eleven fractures in her right leg, a crushed and dislocated right foot, and a dislocated shoulder. Additionally, a handrail impaled her abdomen, piercing her uterus and rendering incapable of carrying a pregnancy to term. During her recovery Kahlo began to paint, abandoning her medical studies, and finished her first self-portrait the following year. Most of her paintings from this time are self-portraits and still life. They were deliberately unsophisticated, experimenting with the colors and styles of traditional Mexican folk art.

Frida KahloJuly 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954

At 22, Kahlo married Diego Rivera, the famous Mexican muralist who was 20 older than her. Their tumultuous relationship survived unfaithfulness and affairs, divorce, remarriage, the demands of their work, Kahlo’s poor health and her infertility. Kahlo once said: "I suffered two grave accidents in my life…One in which a streetcar knocked me down and the other was Diego.”

Kahlo created 143 paintings, 55 of which areself-portraits that often incorporate symbolic representations of both the physical and emotional wounds that she suffered. Although she was labelled a Surrealist, Kahlo insisted that the images she painted were her version of reality.

Both Kahlo and Rivera were extremely active in the Communist Party in Mexico. In the late 1930s they befriended Leon Trotsky, while he received political asylum in Mexico from the SovietUnion, where he had been exorcized and sentenced to death during Joseph Stalin's leadership. In 1937, Trotsky stayed with Rivera and then he and his wife moved into Kahlo's home, where he and Kahlo are said to have had an affair. Soon after, Trotsky and his wife moved into a different house in Coyoacán where he was later assassinated. In 1939, Kahlo and Rivera contravene Trotskyism and become open supporters of Stalin. Kahlo made her last public appearance at a Communist street demonstration in early July 1954, she died not long after.

At the young age of 47, Frida Kahlo passed away. Once, in response to being questioned about what should be done with her remains after she passes, Kahlo retorted:

"Burn it…I don't want to be buried. I have spent too much time lying down…Just burn it!"


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