Frida Kahlo was born in Coyoacan Mexico on July 6, 1907. This Mexican painter was known for herself portraits and she will be forever remembered by her vibrant colors, the intensity of her works as well as the “pain and passion” that was evident within every piece. She was a beloved painter that stood for the tradition in Mexico where she was often celebrated for keeping true to her roots. Further, she was loved by the feminists because of the way she depicted the female form and experience in every one of her pieces.
Her work has taken on many different looks throughout her lifetime but always maintained much of the same character. It was often described as folk art and surreal. Throughout Kahlo’s life, she created about 300 paintings, sketches and drawings. About a third of the paintings that she created were of self portraits because she felt that she knew herself better than any other subject. Her images that she created revealed her life experiences as well as her physical and emotional pain.
Throughout Frida Kahlo’s life, she struggled with health problems, some of which stemmed from an accident she was involved in as a teenager. She grew up in Mexico with three other sisters, a Hungarian-Jewish father as well as a mother of Mexican Indian and Spanish decent. She had originally planned to be a doctor, however she was involved in a bus accident at 18 which fractured her spine, shattered her pelvis and caused a lot of damage resulting in over 30 operations.
She soon began to paint and at the age of 22, she married the famous muralist, Diego Rivera, who was 42 at the time. Their marriage was filled with turmoil due to the various infidelities, divorce, re-marriage as well as her bi-sexual affairs. She once commented that she was involved in two accidents in her life: the streetcar and Diego.
Frida Kahlo didn’t get her first solo exhibition in Mexico until she was 46, in 1953. This was the only exhibition that was held in her lifetime in her native country. One local critic wrote that “her paintings are her biography,” which seems accurate based on such titles of her work as “Tree of Hope”, “The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Me, and Senor Xolotl” and “Self Portrait as a Tehuana (Diego on My Mind)”.
Some of the work that both Frida and Diego were responsible for is evident that they were both active in the Mexican Communist Party. Due to Kahlo’s health, her last public appearance was in the summer of 1954 at a street demonstration for the Communists.
When she died later that year, she was only 47. She told people to burn her body because she spent too much of her life lying down. Her death attracted many mourners who went to the crematorium the day after her death to say goodbye. She gave them one last unforgettable farewell when her body sat up inside the incinerator from all the heat that was generated.
Frida Kahlo has gone down in history as one of Mexico’s greatest painters. The house that she and Diego shared was donated by him a year after she died and he died a few years later in 1957.