Created on December 4, 2019
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"Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away."
Painting truth into surrealism
Frida Kahlo (born Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón; 6 July 1907 – 13 July 1954) was a Mexican painter who explored questions of identity, postcolonialism, gender, class, and race in Mexican society with a folk art style. Her paintings often had strong autobiographical elements and mixed realism with fantasy. Kahlo has been described as a surrealist or magical realist and supporter of the post-revolutionary Mexicayotl movement, which sought to define a Mexican identity.
Born to a German father and a mestiza mother, Kahlo spent most of her childhood and adult life at La Casa Azul, her family home in Coyoacán. Despite childhood polio, Kahlo had been a promising student headed for medical school until a traffic accident at eighteen, which caused her lifelong pain and medical problems. During her recovery, she returned to her childhood hobby of art with the idea of becoming an artist. Kahlo joined the Mexican Communist Party in 1927, through which she met fellow Mexican artist Diego Rivera. The couple married in 1928, and spent the late 1920s and early 1930s travelling in Mexico and the United States together. During this time, Kahlo developed her artistic style, painting mostly small self-portraits with elements from pre-Columbian and Catholic beliefs. Her paintings raised the interest of Surrealist artist André Breton, who arranged for Kahlo's first solo exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York in 1938.
Shortly after, the Louvre purchased a painting from Kahlo, The Frame, making Kahlo the first Mexican artist to be featured in their collection. Throughout the 1940s, Kahlo participated in exhibitions in Mexico and the United States and also worked as an art teacher, all while her health declined. She had her first solo exhibition in Mexico in 1953, shortly before her death in 1954 at the age of 47.
Kahlo's work as an artist remained relatively unknown until the late 1970s, when it was rediscovered by art historians and political activists. Kahlo's work has been celebrated internationally as emblematic of Mexican national and indigenous traditions and by feminists for what is seen as its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form. She is also an icon for Chicanos and the LGBTQ+ movement.
The Two Fridas
Self Portrait With Cropped Hair
The Broken Column
The Wounded Deer
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