Frida Kahlo, The Sad Story Behind a Painting

Frida Kahlo, The Sad Story Behind a Painting

Frida Kahlo (born in Coyoacán – Mexico on July 6, 1907) whose real name is Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderón is a Mexican painter and poet. She grew up in La Casa Azul, a famous residence in Coyoacán, with her father Guillermo Kahlo, and mother Matilde Calderón.

Frida had three sisters, Matilde, Adriana, Cristina, and a brother, Guillermo, who died a few days after she was born. Frida also has 3 paternal older sisters, namely Luisa, Margarita, and María.

Frida’s childhood was often plagued by various diseases. Therefore, her father was always by her side, comforting and encouraging him. Her father encouraged Frida to practice sports such as soccer or boxing. Contrary to the good relationship she had with her father, Frida’s relationship with her mother always had its ups and downs.

In 1922, Frida enrolled at the National Preparatory High School in Mexico, where she wanted to study medicine. There, Frida got to know Mexican intellectuals and artists, Salvador Novo and Alejandro Gomez Arias who later became her boyfriend. Frida started joining the group The Cachuchas, the group named after the hats they wore. They define themselves as a group that is critical of politics and injustice.

Frida then worked in the engraving and printing shop of Fernando Fernandez Dominguez, a friend of her father’s. Dominguez teaches Frida how to paint and imitates Anders Zorn’s paintings. On September 17, 1925, Frida had a serious traffic accident. He suffered several injuries, fractures of the pelvis, spine. He had to go through various rehabilitation methods that would leave marks on her body forever.

During her long recovery period, he began to paint constantly. And painting became an important part of her life. In 1926 Frida painted a self-portrait dedicated to Alejandro Gomez. In her work, it is clear that the style of painting that will become the hallmark of her works reflects how he sees life and how he feels about things. Then Frida began to plunge into the fields of politics, art, and intellectuals.

Frida then met Diego Rivera who was 21 years her senior. Soon, he was invited to attend a meeting of the Mexican Communist Party, of which Diego was a member. In 1928, Frida visited Rivera while he was working on one of her famous paintings, with the intention of showing her works. Rivera was very impressed and encouraged him to continue painting. Since then, Diego has always visited the Kahlo family’s residence.

On August 21, 1929, they married. This marriage is even known as the union relationship between the elephant and the dove. Diego was big and fat while Frida was small and thin. Their relationship is based on love, adventure and creativity. Although doctors had previously told Frida that she could not have children, she later became pregnant in 1930. However, due to an accident and the position of the baby, her pregnancy had to be terminated.

It took her a long time to accept that she would never be able to have another child. Despite the various problems, this couple complements each other perfectly in many aspects. Diego loves her paintings and is her biggest fan, but Frida is her husband’s biggest critic. Due to the political atmosphere at the time and thanks to Diego’s fame in America, the couple decided to move there.

In Detroit, on Diego’s orders, Frida has another abortion. The pain he felt was evident in some of her works. After that terrible event, they returned to Mexico in 1933. In 1939 Kahlo and Rivera divorced after it was revealed the affair between Diego and Cristina, Frida’s sister.

At that time, Frida was also having an affair with the communist leader León Trotsky, who lived and was exiled in La Casa Azul. After the murder of León by a member of the NKVD, Frida was blamed and arrested, but she was soon released. A year later, Diego and Frida remarried. The marriage was more of an ordinary friendship agreement and no love bonds. During those years, recognition for her work continued to grow and Frida also managed to participate in several exhibitions, at MOMA, New York.

In 1953, an exhibition of Frida’s paintings opened in Mexico. Frida’s condition at that time was very weak, she came home from the event by ambulance and had to rest in a hospital bed. Due to gangrene in the same year, his right leg just below the knee had to be amputated. This of course made him even more depressed. She tried to kill himself several times.

On July 13, 2954, Frida Kahlo was reported to have died and was cremated. His ashes are buried in La Casa Azul, which we now know as a museum. Frida’s personality was adopted as one of the icons of international feminism and became a cultural reference.

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