How Frida Kahlo Turned Her Lemon To Lemonade

These photographs of Frida Kahlo show that the great Mexican artist had a difficult yet profoundly important existence.

Frida Kahlo created over 200 remarkable pieces of art during her lifetime, many of which have been classified as surrealistic. But the legendary Mexican painter never considered her works as imaginary creations.

“I don’t paint nightmares or dreams; I depict my own reality,” declared Kahlo.

Kahlo had an interesting life: she worked all around the world, had a fanciful garden, and had infamous affairs with both men and women. Despite this, she was tormented by the unending sorrow brought on by a terrible accident that forever changed her life.

Frida Kahlo’s Early Years

Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón was her name before she became “Frida.” She was born on July 6, 1907, the third daughter of four daughters.

Frida Kahlo was German on her father’s side, however she was most known for her Mexican ancestry. Guillermo Kahlo was a Mexican immigrant who arrived in the country in 1891. Matilde Calderón, her mother, was a fervent Catholic of mostly indigenous and Spanish ancestry.

Frida Kahlo was a brilliant young woman with an endearing appearance. Her father’s emotional link was strengthened by her intelligence and bold character, and she remained close to him as she grew older. Kahlo’s physical health, on the other hand, troubled her throughout her life.

3 sisters = Matilde, Adriana, Cristina. Contracted polio at age 6. Bedridden 9 months, damaged leg caused her to limp for remainder of life.

Kahlo’s right leg was shriveled and her right foot was stunted after having polio at the age of six. Despite this, she had a very busy childhood, participating in soccer, swimming, wrestling, and other sports. Her photographer father also taught her basic photography techniques at a young age, allowing her to develop her artistic side. She also learned to draw from a family member.

Frida Kahlo attended in Mexico’s prestigious National Preparatory School in 1922, where she met muralist Diego Rivera, whom she subsequently married. Rivera remembered their meeting at her school in his autobiography, My Art, My Life, when he had been requested to work on a project.

He penned, “The door sprang open, and a young girl, no more than ten or twelve years old, was thrown inside… Her dignity and self-assurance were extraordinary, and she had a weird fire in her eyes.”

Unfortunately, three years later, Kahlo was injured in a horrific accident involving a bus and a streetcar, in which she was impaled by a steel handrail. It went in close to her hip and exited the other side. She had horrific injuries, particularly to her spine and pelvis.

Frida in a stylish outfit, (far left)

In many ways, her survival was a miracle, albeit she had to go through a lengthy recuperation period that rendered the lively tomboy bedridden for months. However, it was during her first year of rehabilitation that she first put brush to canvas and used art to communicate her physical and mental agony.

Portraits by Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo is most renowned for her surrealist style, which is infused with brilliant colors and pays homage to her indigenous background. During her recuperation years, she developed the technique as she became more familiar with the canvas. The young creative’s life had been forever altered as a result of the accident.

Her paintings are exceptionally surrealist

Kahlo wrote to her then-boyfriend Alejandro Gómez Arias, “Sooner or later, life will expose [its truths] to you. I already know everything… I was a child who lived in a colorful world… My acquaintances and associates gradually become ladies, and I grew elderly in an instant.”

Her injuries was so serious that she was unable to sit up straight for months and was forced to wear a hard plaster stabilizing corset.

Kahlo’s mother rigged up a portable easel and a mirror to the underside of Kahlo’s bed canopy to allow her daughter’s creativity to thrive while confined to the bed, allowing her to paint herself while laying down. Self-portraits were prevalent in Frida Kahlo’s work.

“I paint self-portraits because I’m often alone, because I’m the only person I know,” the artist said years later. Indeed, it is estimated that roughly 55 of her paintings were self-portraits during her lifetime.

Her inner agony, which she brilliantly transferred into her art, struck a chord with the general public. Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits became her most popular paintings as a result. The Two Fridas (1939), Self-Portrait With Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird (1940), and Broken Column (1941) are among her most well-known paintings (1944).

Her painting depicted her sorrow

Frida Kahlo’s art was permeated with her politics, much like the style of dress for which she became famous. Many of the intellectuals Kahlo encountered were embracing Mexico’s traditional roots, or “Mexicanidad,” as she felt more at ease as an artist in post-revolutionary Mexico.

Frida and Diego are a couple.

Frida Kahlo’s art was also influenced by her difficult relationship with her husband, the famed Mexican artist Diego Rivera.

Following their chance meeting at Kahlo’s school, Kahlo and Rivera, who were 20 years apart in age, had an emotional relationship since they shared similar social circles. As Kahlo’s health improved, she began to pick up the paintbrush more frequently, and Rivera began to pay her more visits at her family’s Casa Azul.

At the time, Rivera was already a well-known artist. But he was smitten with Kahlo’s natural talent and did everything he could to help her develop it.

In 1929, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo married, divorced in 1939, and remarried in 1940.

“It was evident to me that this girl was a true artist,” Rivera later wrote. Frida Kahlo’s acquaintances were dissatisfied with their courtship and expressed their displeasure openly.

Rivera was described by a friend of Kahlo as “a pot-bellied, disgusting old man.” Her parents referred to her and Rivera’s marriage as “marriage between an elephant and a dove” when they married in 1929, a clear dig at the couple’s mismatched appearance.

However, the spirits of Kahlo and Rivera were inseparable, and they had a deep love and respect for one another. Despite this, their marriage was beset by problems.

“It’s not worth it to leave this world without having had a good time.” she said

Diego Rivera, like Frida Kahlo, was a notorious philanderer who had affairs with both men and women during their tumultuous marriage. Their relationship was further strained by Kahlo’s miscarriages, which she painted as symbols of infertility induced by her accident. After divorcing in 1939, the pair remarried the following year.

“In my life, there have been two tremendous accidents,” Kahlo famously said. “The streetcar was one, and Diego was the other. Diego was by far the worst of the bunch.” Despite this, they stayed committed to their love and work.

Rivera wrote lovingly of his wife’s art in a letter to a friend, promoting the paintings:

“I offer her to you as an enthusiastic lover of her work, acid and tender, hard as steel and delicate and exquisite as a butterfly’s wing, loveable as a beautiful smile, and profound and severe as life’s bitterness.”

Rivera and Kahlo had a tumultuous relationship, but they remained committed to one another to the end.

Frida Kahlo’s Legacies

Frida Kahlo died on July 13, 1954, at the age of 47. The declared cause of death was pneumonia-induced pulmonary embolism, although several speculated that she had overdosed on pills and killed herself.

Frida Kahlo’s portraits have become some of the most known artworks in the world after her death. Despite the fact that she only sold a few paintings throughout her lifetime, her work is now shown among the work of renowned artists such as Salvador Dal and Georgia O’Keefe. Individual works of hers now fetch millions of dollars.

Frida’s depiction of her love life

Janet Landay, a curator at Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, characterized it thus way: “Kahlo made intimate women’s experiences meaningful themes for art, yet her works transcend gender barriers because to their profound emotional intensity. They demand that spectators, both men and women, be moved by them because they are intimate and powerful.”

Kahlo’s enthralling artwork has also entered the pop cultural vernacular of the twenty-first century. However, her admiration for her work has turned into an obsession that threatens to commodify the artist’s image.

Salma Hayek, a Mexican actress, played Frida Kahlo in the feature film Frida in 2002. Bags, T-shirts, and mugs bearing Frida Kahlo’s unmistakable face are now highly sought-after collectibles.

Many commentators have noted the irony of capitalizing an anti-capitalist artist, which has spurred critical conversation about art, remembrance, and women artists’ autonomy.

Fans of her work can rejoice, however, that an indigenous LGBTQ artist like Frida Kahlo has become such a well-known figure – even though this occurred decades after her death.

Despite the fact that she recovered from her injuries and was eventually able to walk again, she lived the rest of her life in excruciating pain.

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