Kahlo

Kahlo

[kah-loh]
Kahlo, Frida, 1907-54, Mexican painter, b. Coyoacán. As a result of an accident at age 15, Kahlo turned her attention from a medical career to painting. Drawing on her personal experiences, her works are often shocking in their stark portrayal of pain and the harsh lives of women. Fifty-five of her 143 paintings are self-portraits incorporating a personal symbolism complete with graphic anatomical references. She was also influenced by indigenous Mexican culture, aspects of which she portrayed in bright colors, with a mixture of realism and symbolism. Her paintings attracted the attention of the artist Diego Rivera, whom she later married. Although Kahlo's work is sometimes classified as surrealist and she did exhibit several times with European surrealists, she herself disputed the label. Her preoccupation with female themes and the figurative candor with which she expressed them made her something of a feminist cult figure in the last decades of the 20th cent. Some of her work is exhibited at the Frida Kahlo Museum, situated in her birthplace and subsequent home in suburban Mexico City.

Bibliography

See The Diary of Frida Kahlo (1995), ed. by S. M. Lowe, and The Letters of Frida Kahlo (1995), ed. by M. Zamora; H. Herrera, Frida (1983); S. M. Lowe, Frida Kahlo (1991); M. Zamora, Frida Kahlo (1991); H. Herrera, Frida Kahlo: The Paintings (1991).

“Diego and I,” oil on masonite, self-portrait (with forehead portrait of Diego Rivera) elipsis

(born July 6, 1907, Coyoacán, Mex.—died July 13, 1954, Coyoacán) Mexican painter. The daughter of a German Jewish photographer, she had polio as a child and at 18 suffered a serious bus accident. She subsequently underwent some 35 operations; during her recovery, she taught herself to paint. She is noted for her intense self-portraits, many reflecting her physical ordeal. Like many artists working in post-revolutionary Mexico, Kahlo was influenced by Mexican folk art; this is apparent in her use of fantastical elements and bold use of colour, and in her depictions of herself wearing traditional Mexican, rather than European-style, dress. Her marriage to painter Diego Rivera (from 1929) was tumultuous but artistically rewarding. The Surrealists André Breton and Marcel Duchamp helped arrange exhibits of her work in the U.S. and Europe, and though she denied the connection, the dreamlike quality of her work has often led historians to identify her as a Surrealist. She died at 47. Her house in Coyoacán is now the Frida Kahlo Museum.

Learn more about Kahlo (y Calderón de Rivera), (Magdalena Carmen) Frida with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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