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Painter Frida Kahlo was a Mexican self-portrait artist who was married to Diego Rivera and is still admired as a feminist icon.
Frida Kahlo - Mini Biography (3:54)
A short biography of Frida Kahlo who contracted polio at the age of 6, then suffered a near-fatal bus crash at the age of 18 that left her with a lifetime of pain. She was able to transcend her pain and express it in her paintings.
A short biography of Diego Rivera whose view that art should belong to everyone profoundly impacted the international art scene and led to his reintroduction of Fresco paintings in the 1930s.
A pioneer of Modern Art, Georgia O'Keeffe created large-scale paintings of natural forms and flowers at close range. She began to spend much of her time in New Mexico and created imagery synonymous with the American Southwest.
A short biography of Pablo Picasso who developed cubism and flourished as an artist. His painting "Guernica," which depicts the bombing of a Basque village during the Spanish Civil War, is considered his masterpiece.
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During their early years together, Kahlo often followed Rivera moved around a lot based on where the commissions that Rivera received were. In 1930, they lived in San Francisco, California,
where Kahlo showed her painting Frieda and Diego Rivera at the Sixth Annual Exhibition of the San Francisco Society of Women Artists. They then went to New York City for Rivera’s show at the Museum of Modern Art and later moved to Detroit for Rivera’s commission with the Detroit Institute of Arts.
In 1932, Kahlo incorporated more graphic and surrealistic elements in her work. In her painting, Henry Ford Hospital (1932), a naked Kahlo appears on a hospital bed with several items -- a fetus, a snail, a flower, a pelvis and others -- floating around her connected to her by red, veinlike strings. As with her earlier self-portraits, the work was deeply personal, telling the story of her second miscarriage.
Kahlo and Rivera’s time in New York City in 1933 was surrounded by controversy. Commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller, Rivera created a mural entitled Man at the Crossroads in the RCA Building at Rockefeller Center. Rockefeller halted the work on the project after Rivera included a portrait of communist leader Vladimir Lenin in the mural, which was later painted over. Months after this incident, the couple returned to Mexico and went to live in San Angel, Mexico.
Never a traditional union, Kahlo and Rivera kept separate, but adjoining homes and studios in San Angel. She was saddened by his many infidelities, including an affair with her sister Cristina. In response to this familial betrayal, Kahlo cut off most of her trademark long dark hair. Desperately wanting to have a child, she again experienced heartbreak when she miscarried in 1934.
She and Rivera went through periods of separation, but they joined together to help exiled Soviet communist Leon Trotsky and his wife Natalia in 1937. The Trotskys came to stay with them at the Blue House for a time in 1937 as Trotsky had received asylum in Mexico. Once a rival of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, Trotsky feared that he would be assassinated by his old nemesis. Kahlo and Trotsky reportedly had a brief affair during this time.
While she never considered herself a Surrealist, Kahlo befriended one of the primary figures in that artistic and literary movement, Andre Breton, in 1938. That same year, she had a major exhibition at a New York City gallery, selling half of the 25 paintings shown there. Kahlo also received two commissions, including one from famed magazine editor Clare Boothe Luce, as a result of the show.
Kahlo was asked to paint a portrait of Luce and Kahlo's mutual friend, actress Dorothy Hale, who had committed suicide earlier that year by jumping from a high-rise building. The painting was intended as a gift for Hale's grieving mother. Rather than a traditional portrait, however, Kahlo painted the story of Hale's tragic leap. While the work, The Suicide of Dorothy Hale (1939), has been heralded by critics, its patron was horrified at the finished painting.
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Frida Kahlo first met Diego Rivera when she was an art student hoping to get advice on her career from the famous Mexican muralist. Although Rivera was married, a courtship ensued. They wed in 1929 (he was 42, she was 22) much to the disapproval of Frida's parents, who referred to the couple as "the elephant and the dove." With volatile tempers and countless infidelities, the marriage was notoriously tumultuous. The couple divorced in 1939 only to remarry a year later, though the second marriage was just as turbulent as the first. Both have long been recognized as important painters who achieved great international popularity during their lifetimes.
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera 2 people in this group
Famous Hispanic Artists 7 people in this group
Notable Hispanic Women 20 people in this group