“I was born a bitch. I was born a painter,” are supposedly the self-descriptive words uttered by iconic Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo who is best known for her self-portraits. Frida, was born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón; in Coyoacán, on July 6, in1907. Her life began and ended in Mexico City, in her home known as La Casa Azul (The Blue House). Her style comprises national and indigenous traditions, from both Mexican and Amerindian cultural traditions which were important to her work. Her artwork has also been identified as belonging to Folk Art, Naïve Art and the Surrealist Art Movement.
Although Kahlo married the famous Mexican artist, Diego Rivera; theirs was a volatile marriage. As active Communists, they befriended Leon Trotsky after he received political asylum in Mexico from Joseph Stalin’s regime in the Soviet Union. During 1937, Trotsky lived initially with Rivera and then at Kahlo’s home (where he and Kahlo had an affair). Trotsky and his wife then relocated to another house in Coyoacán where, in 1940, he was assassinated.
Seven days after her 47th birthday, Frida Kahlo died on July 13, 1954. The official cause of death was given as a pulmonary embolism, although some suspected that she died from an overdose that may or may not have been accidental. To add to the intrigue: an autopsy was never performed. Prior to her death Kahlo had suffered from great periods of ill-health including the unfortunate amputation of her right leg owing to gangrene. It was an unfortunate bout of bronco-pneumonia, which left her very frail and it was only a few days before her death that she wrote in her diary: “I hope the exit is joyful — and I hope never to return — Frida”.
I don’t know whether it is because I like her art that makes me aware of an over-abundance of available “Frida” merchandise, but if you are interested you could start by looking for items such as:
- DVD of the Double-Academy Award Winning movie – Frida.
- The accompanying Frida Soundtrack on CD – with tracks composed by Elliot Goldenthal.
- The book: Frida’s Fiestas: Recipes and Reminiscences of Life with Frida Kahlo
- An aluminium drink water bottle with a facsimile of one of Frida’s self-portraits; or even the seemingly stranger…
- Cushion cover – (shown in the banner above). In which case, imagine… instead of you supporting Frida…, let Frida support you (behind your back with a cushion or two!).
Me puse cómodo en el sofá y encendí la televisión.
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“Is It Art?”
There was quite an interesting exhibition here in Dublin last year of Kahlo’s work. Interesting artist. But more I suspect, for the controversy that followed her and Diego than actual sheer raw talent.