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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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In 1939, Kahlo went to live in Paris for a time. There she exhibited some of her paintings and developed friendships such artists as Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso. She divorced Rivera later that year. During this time, she painted one of her most famous works, The Two Fridas (1939). The paintings shows two versions of the artist sitting side by side,
with both of their hearts exposed. One Frida is dressed nearly all in white and has a damaged heart and spots of blood on her clothing. The other wears bold colored clothing and has an intact heart. These figures are believed to represent “unloved” and “loved” versions of Kahlo.
Oddly, Kahlo and Rivera did not stay divorced for long. They remarried in 1940, and yet the couple continued to lead largely separate lives. And both became involved with other people over the years.
Kahlo received a commission from the Mexican government for five portraits of important Mexican women in 1941, but she was unable to finish the project. She lost her beloved father that year and continued to suffer from chronic health problems. Despite her personal challenges, her work continued to grow in popularity and was included in numerous group shows around this time.
In 1944, Kahlo painted The Broken Column, which depicted a nearly nude Frida split down the middle revealing her spine as a shattered decorative column. She also wears a surgical brace and her skin is studded with tacks or nails. Again, Kahlo shared her physical challenges through her art. Around this time, she had several surgeries and wore special corsets to try to fix her back. She would continue to seek a variety of treatments for her chronic physical pain with little success.
Her health issues became nearly all-consuming in 1950. After being diagnosed with gangrene in her right foot, Kahlo spent nine months in the hospital and had several operations during this time. She continued to paint and support political causes despite having limited mobility. In 1953, Kahlo received her first solo exhibition in Mexico. She may have been bedridden at the time, but she did not miss out on the exhibition’s opening. Arriving by ambulance, Kahlo spent the evening talking and celebrating with the event’s attendees from the comfort of a four-poster bed set up in the gallery just for her. Kahlo’s joy was dampened a few months later when part of her right leg was amputated to stop the spread of gangrene.
Deeply depressed, Kahlo was hospitalized again in April 1954 because of poor health, or, as some reports indicated, a suicide attempt. She returned to the hospital two months later with bronchial pneumonia. No matter her physical condition, Kahlo did not let that stand in the way of her political activism. Her final public appearance was a demonstration against the U.S.-backed overthrow of President Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala on July 2. About a week after her 47th birthday, Kahlo died on July 13 at her beloved Blue House. There has been some speculation regarding the nature of her death.
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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