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LGBT History Month profile: Renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo

via Equality Forum
Monday, October 17, 2011

Frida Kahlo, Artist
b. July 6, 1907
d. July 13, 1954

“Painting completed my life.”

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo is a renowned Mexican painter, noted for her vibrant colors as well as nationalist and feminist themes. Her paintings have commanded higher prices than any other female artist.

Born in Mexico, Kahlo was the third of Matilda and Guillermo’s four daughters. When she was 15, she was sent to the most prestigious national preparatory school.

At age 18, she was in a trolley accident that left her with permanent pain and health problems. This accident crippled her, led to over 30 surgeries, and rendered her unable to bear children. Kahlo’s pain is reflected in her works.

In 1929, she married the famous painter and communist Diego Rivera. Twenty years her senior and a noted muralist, Rivera’s relationship with Kahlo was a mixture of passion and strife. While they had much in common, Rivera was frequently unfaithful. Kahlo had a series of affairs with men and women. They divorced in early 1940, but remarried later that year.

Her genius as an artist went unrecognized until she was offered a show in New York. It was wildly successful and led to shows in Paris and other international cities.

Her work is celebrated for its Mexican folk art traditions, use of vivid colors, and its subject matter, including self-portraits. Her work has been associated with surrealism, though Kahlo herself renounced the genre saying, “I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.”

In 1944, her health began to rapidly deteriorate. In 1950, she was hospitalized for a year. When Kahlo finally received her first solo show in Mexico, she had to be carried to the opening in bed.

After her death, her work continued to grow in popularity. Kahlo’s paintings have been displayed in prestigious international shows, including a solo exhibit that celebrated the 100th anniversary of her birth. In 2001, her face graced a U.S. postage stamp. In 2002, her life was made into the Academy Award-winning movie “Frida.”

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11 more reader comments:

  1. <3 one of my idols…

    Posted on Monday, October 17, 2011 at 10:51pm
  2. When I visited PR a couple of years ago, the University was having a showing of her paintings. Really like them.

    Posted on Monday, October 17, 2011 at 11:00pm
  3. my favourite artist :)

    Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 3:49am
  4. Being a woman, I feel that she does not get her fair shares of aculates for her contribution and trail blazing in the world of surrealist artist.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 4:54am
  5. She was an amazing artist and an amazing woman.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 6:26am
  6. I love frida! I have one of her portraits tattooed on my leg:)

    Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 7:56am
  7. She was amazing! I always want to be her for Halloween but no one knows who she is. :/

    Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 8:56am
  8. i love her!!!!!!!!!!! I am going to be her for my spanish project on dia de los muertos!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 8:02pm
  9. i mean i guess she was kind of a “feminist” but not a lesbian. well good job anyway!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 8:02pm
  10. she was a “feminist” without the label existing…i think amazing human being sums her up best. <3

    Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 9:15pm
  11. are you sure she wasn’t bi?

    Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 12:15am