Her life can best be described by the words “suffering female”, “childless” and “mistreated wife.”
She created many portraits of herself throughout her life that reflect her inner emotions. Many believe she died while living.
Frida Kallo (1907-1954), without a doubt, was one of Mexico’s most prominent artists during the mid-20th century. Kahlo uses self-portraiture to show herself and explore her emotions. Kahlo’s work is more than just a popular icon of pop culture and feminism. Frida was the daughter of German and Mexican immigrants. She was born on July 6, in Coyoacan, Mexico. Guillermo Kahlo her father of German descendance, allowed Matilde Cader n to continue her education in Roman Catholicism. Frida started to rebel against her mother and her older sisters. Perhaps Frida felt distant from her mother’s warmth because Matilde, her strict attitude, made it impossible for Frida to return home after twelve years. She began calling her mother “mi Jefe”, her rebellious attitude.
Frida, at six years of age, was bedridden after contracting the most lethal disease known to children: polio. Frida suffered a severe limp after she had been cured. Although rebellious, Frida was an intelligent student who was quickly enrolled at the National Preparatory School of Mexico. At 14 years old, she wanted to be a doctor and was determined to leave her family. The Cachuchas were her first school. These were seven boys and two daughters who were both trouble-makers and intellectually gifted. She began to tease Diego Rivera, a well-known muralist who would paint in the school auditorium in 1922. Frida fell in love with Diego’s art over time. He would often watch her for hours, hoping to catch her attention. Rivera was impressed by her paintings and encouraged her to continue.
Frida was heading to her doom on September 17, 1925. The trolley took her through the tracks and changed her life forever. The trolley came to a stop on the bus. The trolley struck the bus. The accident caused her to fracture her spine in three places and crushed her pelvis. She also broke one of her legs. Frida did not expect to survive, but she survived. Her fractured spine would mean that she would need to suffer tremendous pain in her last years. Frida became a painter after her back was inexplicably unable for several months. Her technique improved and she was able to express her emotions through her elaborate paintings.
Frida started drawing portraits for herself and others ever since the accident. She finally felt well enough to visit Diego Rivera. He was an extremely respected artist, she knew. He asked her to let her know if she was interested in making a career of her paintings. They kept in touch from then on. Frida first met Diego Rivera at the age of 41. He was undoubtedly ugly but he attracted women to him. His most attractive feature was his personality. He had brilliant humor, vitality and charm. On August 21, 1929, they were married. Frida fell pregnant in her first year. Due to problems in her pregnancies she had an abortion. But this wasn’t her only negative experience. She learned that Diego was having an affair, and she had to tell her younger sister. Frida was also affected by two miscarriages. She later discovered that Diego had several other affairs. In 1939, she decided to end her marriage to Diego. They remarried in 1940, but that was not the end of their relationship. Despite Diego being involved with another woman (one was Frida’s sister), they were able to help in many ways. He suggested that Frida wear traditional Mexican clothing. They were long, bright, colorful and featured exotic jewelry. Frida’s long, thick eyebrows made this her signature. He was also a great admirer of her work. Frida was Diego’s most trusted and loyal critic, as well as his love.
Despite the trauma in her past, Frida was outgoing and loved 4 letter words. She enjoyed drinking tequila with her friends and singing off-color songs at their crazy parties. She loved making everyone laugh and telling bad jokes. Frida’s beauty amazed everyone. People stopped to stare at her everywhere she went. Frida was a magnet for men, so she had many scandalous affairs.
Frida had only one Mexican exhibition, and that was in spring 1953. Frida’s condition was so bad that doctors advised her against attending. After guests were allowed to enter the gallery, sirens could be heard outside. Outside, a motorbike escort and an ambulance arrived to bring the crowd into chaos. Frida Kallo was being pushed from the ambulance onto a stretcher in order to get into her exhibit. The reporters and photographers were stunned. The gallery was shocked when she was taken to her bed. A crowd gathered to welcome her. Frida entertained the crowd with jokes and sang throughout the evening. It was a huge success. Frida also had her right foot amputated below her knee because of a gangrene injury. She became suicidal and depressed as a result. She tried suicide several times. Frida was killed on July 13, 1954. Official autopsy wasn’t done. Suicide is believed to be the cause. Her last words were “I hope you leave joyfully and I will never return.”
Rivera was a fan of Rivera’s paintings that reflected her Mexican identity. She often used technical devices and subjects from Mexican archaeology to illustrate her Mexican identity. Her work has a greater impact when she uses fantastic elements to enhance its impact. Kahlo only depicted personal experiences. Kahlo was often drawn to the darkest parts of her life. She used graphic imagery to express her feelings. Rivera rejected her when she was weeping over the emotional and physical injuries she had suffered in their marriage. Frida could never have children so she had pets all her life. These pets were often her children. Frida would often paint animals with Frida when she did her self-portraits.
Frida, Kahlo and many other artists were influenced by Mexicanidad. Her hair was braided with fresh flowers and ribbons to express her identity with Mexico’s indigenous culture. She often wore traditional Mexican costumes.
Frida’s incredible imagery and psychological probings have been often linked with the Surrealist movement. She was more of a Surrealist discovery that an actual Surrealist. Like Rivera, her work was part of Mexico’s socially progressive new.