Artist of the Month: Frida Kahlo

 

The Artist

Frida  Kahlo (1907 – 54) was a Mexican artist with a turbulent artistic and private life. At the age of 18 she was involved in a traffic accident which left her with very serious injuries.  Amongst other injuries, she fractured her spine in three places and required a total of around 35 operations! She spend long times in and out of hospital.

During her convalescence, she started painting portraits of herself and others. In 1928 she met Mexico’s most famous artist Diego Rivera whom she married the same year. This was a rather strained relationship with divorce an re-marriage which lasted until her death.

Kahlo’s paintings show a deep insight into her dreams, emotions and pain. It is through her paintings we learn about  her inner self. Rivera described her work as ‘acid and tender, hard as steel and delicate and fine as a butterfly’s wing, lovable as a beautiful smile and profound and cruel as the bitterness of life’. Overshadowed by her husbands work, she mainly rose to fame after her death. 

  

The Art work

 Self-Portrait with the Portrait of Doctor Farill, 1951, shows Kahlo with her doctor who had saved her life. She is sitting in a wheelchair. Confined by her invalidism, the room without windows and pale colours reminds of a prison. ‘I paint myself as I am often so alone’.  On her lap is a heart in shape of a palette as if to say that she is painting from her heart. Red paint drops from the brushes which are as sharp as a surgical knife.  The palette / heart and brushes are emblems both of her martyrdom and her salvation. 

The Accident
The Accident
Kahlo painting her family in hospital
Kahlo painting her family in hospital
Self Portrait with the Portarit of Doctor Farill
Self Portrait with the Portarit of Doctor Farill