Who was Frida Kahlo?
Frida Kahlo is one of the most famous visual artists of all time, and probably the most famous female visual artist for most people.
Her life and times are every bit as fascinating as her works themselves are. Her life story is a veritable roller-coaster; let’s take a deeper look.
Her childhood and early years.
The lady we know today as Frida Kahlo was born as Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo-y-Calderón in Mexico City in the year 1907 on July 7th. Her father was German and her mother was part Lebanese. She suffered from polio as a child, but recovered and had an otherwise unremarkable childhood.
However, that all changed one fateful day when she was still just 18 year old. She was riding a trolley which got into a horrible accident. The injuries she sustained in this accident would leave her with rheumatoid arthritis, a condition which caused her terrible pain and medical issues for the rest of her life.
Frida, politics and Diego
The accident changed Frida’s outlook on life greatly. She joined the Mexican Communist Party when she was just 20 years old. This led her to meet Diego Rivera, a visual artist who encouraged her to spread her wings doing the same.
Their relationship would be very rocky and stormy, and would last on and off for the remainder of her life – she died in 1954, aged only 47 years at the time.
Famously, at one point, Rivera slept with her sister. She is considered to have got her revenge for this act by in turn sleeping with Leon Trotsky, who was in exile in Mexico at the time. Trotsky was Rivera’s idol.
Frida Kahlo was famous for her earthy, dark and traditional art style. Her pieces celebrate Mexican indigenous culture, which at the time was not very common, and raised eyebrows all across the world. Her work also often referred to her own medical problems, and the trials and tribulations she faced in her life.
Because of this, her work also is considered to have a very strong feminist tint. Even to this day, it is celebrated especially by feminists worldwide as speaking poignantly to the female condition worldwide.
Frida didn’t enjoy the widespread fame she maybe should have enjoyed in her lifetime. In fact, she didn’t really come into her own until long after her death, starting in the 1970s through the 1990s.