Thick unibrows, flowers in her hair, and almost theatrical costumes full of Mexican flavor – in this description it is easy to recognize Frida Kahlo, one of the most famous artists of the 20th century, who was born on July 6, 1907. Uncompromising flamboyance was a key expression of her style, creativity, and personality. She turned her life, full of mental and physical suffering, into an independent art form.
Vivid evidence of the artist’s biography is kept in her house museum in Mexico City, where she spent most of her life. Known as the Blue House, the villa was the birthplace of Frida’s most significant work, including the posthumous painting Viva la Vida. We want to tell you why everyone should see it and what are the most interesting facts about Frida Kahlo.
Frida Kahlo considered her own creativity more of a hobby. And therefore, she hardly aspired for recognition in artistic circles. With all her talent, the self-taught artist has long preferred to stay in the shadow of her famous husband, Diego Rivera. In part, Frida ignored her own creative ambitions to please her beloved husband.
“The paintings of this aspiring artist can compete with the work of her famous husband,” wrote Time. To date, Kahlo is included in the list of the most respected artists of the 20th century, and the cost of her work is estimated at millions of dollars.
Frida drank a lot, smoked, used foul language, and also had affairs with both men and women.
And this is possibly one of the most unexpected facts about Frida Kahlo. Anyone who is at least a little familiar with the work of the artist knows what unbearable pain the constant betrayal of her husband caused her. Diego repeated more than once that Frida was the main and only woman in his life, which, however, could hardly serve as a guarantor of marital fidelity.
The last straw was Diego’s affair with Frida`s sister. This was followed by a painful divorce, but a year later the lovers got back together.
According to the recollections of friends, Frida often made concessions in order to save the relationship. However, after the second marriage, she could no longer play the role of a respectable wife. Having gone into all serious trouble, Frida drank a lot, smoked, used foul language, and also had affairs with both men and women.
Frida Kahlo made an impact on the fashion world.
The artist began to wear men’s clothing long before it became the generally accepted norm. It is worth remembering at least the famous “Self-portrait with cropped hair”, where she appears in a man’s suit.
In her youth, Frida preferred trousers and jeans to hide a physical defect in her leg after suffering childhood polio. After marriage, they were replaced by long skirts and dresses in the traditional Tehuan style. However, the image of Frida was rather a free rethinking of Mexican traditions, which were closely intertwined with elements of other cultures.
The created images became important semantic elements of Frida’s paintings, and also had a noticeable impact on the fashion world. So, Kahlo’s Parisian visit in 1939 inspired the designer Elsa Schiaparelli to create the Madame Rivera dress, and in the same year, the artist graced the cover of French Vogue.
And the next one of the interesting facts about Frida is that her image and bright personality inspired the most prominent designers of the following decades: from Jean-Paul Gaultier to Ricardo Tisci.
The plots of Frida’s paintings are closely connected with her life
“I paint myself because I spend a lot of time alone and therefore represent the topic that I know best,” said the artist.
Physical pain, mental suffering, failed motherhood, passion for communism, love affairs, dreams of world fame, and the expectation of death – for her, creativity was not only a way of self-expression but also a form of psychotherapy.
Throughout her life, the artist experienced serious health problems.
This is one of the well-known facts about Frida Kahlo. As a result of numerous serious fractures, she was bedridden for almost a year. After recovery, the artist began to limp and also experienced problems with her spine. This led her to a series of complex surgeries. As a result of the amputation, she lost one leg, replacing it with a wooden prosthesis, which she then adorned with a custom-made embroidered red leather boot.
Frida Kahlo swore allegiance to the ideas of communism.
Frida joined the Mexican Communist Party in 1928, but left a year later following the expelled Diego. And ten years later, she swore allegiance to the ideas of communism again.
An interesting episode is connected with Frida’s funeral. Her former classmate and artist Arturo Garcia Bustos, who was also an adherent of revolutionary ideas, brought a red banner with a hammer and sickle in the center of a large star, placing it on the coffin. There was a scandal, and the banner was removed, although Frida would certainly have liked such a spectacular gesture.