Who is Farida Kahlo? Childhood, Family, School Life, Polio
Farida Kahlo was a Mexican painter best known for her extravagantly colored self-portraits and is still hailed as a feminist icon. Her paintings were based on themes such as identity, the human body and death. She was usually identified as a Surrealist.
She linked traditional Mexican folk art with Surrealism. Her most famous works include ‘Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird’ ‘Memory, the Heart’, ‘Henry Ford Hospital’, ‘Self Portrait with Monkeys’ and ‘What I saw in the Water’.
Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907, in Coyoacan, Mexico to Guillermo Kahlo, a photographer and Matilde Gonzalez. She had three siblings. Kahlo suffered from poor health in her childhood.
At the age of six, she contracted polio and was bedridden for nine months. The polio caused her right leg to grow much thinner than her left one.
After her recovery from polio she had a limp. To fight her disease, she played soccer and leaned swimming. She kept a very close relationship with her father her whole life. She learned how to use the camera and develop photographs from him.
She attended the famous National Preparatory School in 1922 and worked as an apprentice under Fernando Fernandez. He was commercial paint-maker and taught Frida the basic of drawing and copy printing.
Member of Young Communist League, Accident, As a Painter
She was studying medicine until she met with a terrible bus accident in 1925. She was severely injured and had to go through over thirty operations. She stayed in the Red Cross Hospital for several weeks. The accident left her in a great deal of pain.
To relieve the pain, she started the painting and dabbled in watercolors and oil paintings. She painted more than fifty self – portraits over the course of her life. Kahlo also become politically active and became a member of the Young Communist League.
In Francisco, Met Many Artists
In 1930, she went to San Francisco and there, she met many prominent artists. The next year, she displayed her works to the public for the first time at the Sixth Annual Exhibition of the San Francisco Society of Women Artists. She presented a portrait of her and Diego Rivera, who she’d met at the National Preparatory School and was in flaunted with, called ‘Frida and Diego Rivera’
In 1937, four of Kahlo’s paintings were showcased at the Galleria de Arte. National Autonomous University of Mexico. The following year, the bssssecame a good friend of the French poet and Surrealist Andre Breton.
Solo Exhibitions, The Louvre
In 1938, she held her first solo exhibitions at the Julien Levy Gallery, New York. She displayed 25 of her paintings. Most of her art was sold immediately. The next year, she presented her art work at the Mexique exhibition in Paris. Her self – portrait named ‘The Frame’ was purchased by the largest museum in the world, the Louvre.
Paintings, And Met Many Famous Artists
Her paintings, ‘The Two Fridas’and ‘The Wounded Table’ were displayed at the International Surrealism Exhibition, held at the Gallery of Mexican Art. Her work led her to meet artist such as Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso.
Her major work from 1940 was ‘Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird’. In this piece, she painted herself wearing a necklace of thorns, suffering. Her paintings were showcased in over 25 museums all over the world.
Faced Physical Challenges
Kahlo received a commission to paint five important Mexican women from the Mexican government in 1941. But she unable to finish the project, as she lost her beloved father that year and suffered from many health problems. Despite the challenges, she continued to grow in popularity. In 1942, she painted her ‘Self – Portrait with Braid.
In 1944, Kahlo painted on of her most famous portraits, ‘The Broken Column’.With this portrait, she put forth the physical challenges she faced. She finished this painting right after she underwent spine surgery.
Her health worsened in 1950 when he was diagnosed with gangrene in her right foot. She became bedridden for months and had several surgeries. But Kahlo continued to work and paint. She created nearly 150 paintings.
Awards and Achievements, Death
For her exceptional work as a painter, she received the National Prize of Arts and Sciences in 1946. In 1929, Frieda married Diego Rivera, a Mexican painter. But they eventually divorced in 1939 before getting back together shortly after in 1940. She died at the age of 47 due to lung failure in Mexico Kahlo’s fame has only grown since her death.