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Thursday, October 28, 2021
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Who Was Frida Kahlo?

Written by Vedika Pathania, a second-year student.

Frida Kahlo, whose original name was Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo Calderón, was a Mexican artist most known for her bold and brightly coloured self-portraits that explore topics like individuality, the human form, and death…

By I Kid You Not , in Featured People , at October 13, 2021 Tags: , , ,

Written by Vedika Pathania, a second-year student.

At some point or the other, we’ve all come across vibrant portraits of a woman, her hair coiled into dark braids, a flower crown on top, a colourful dress and the signature dark unibrow. All these features are distinct to none other than one of the most well-known and revered female artists of the 20th Century, Frida Kahlo.

Frida Kahlo, whose original name was Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo Calderón, was a Mexican artist most known for her bold and brightly coloured self-portraits that explore topics like individuality, the human form, and death. Despite her denials, she is frequently referred to as a Surrealist.

(Surrealism was a cultural movement that emerged  in Europe following the first World War  The movement is most recognised for its visual artworks and writings, which contrast different elements in order to stimulate the unconscious mind via images.)

She was born in 1907, although she falsified her birth date to 1910 so that her birth coincides with the Mexican Revolution. Frida was raised by a Hungarian-German father and her mother had Spanish and Native American ancestry. Later in her career as an artist, Kahlo explored her identity by portraying her heritage as binary opposites: colonial Europeans and indigenous Mexicans. She had polio as a youngster, which left her with a small limp that she would have to live with for the rest of her life.

Despite taking some sketching lessons, Kahlo was primarily interested in science and enrolled at the National Preparatory School in Mexico City in 1922 with the intention of pursuing medicine later.

She was badly injured in a bus accident in 1925, and she had to endure more than 30 surgical surgeries throughout the course of her life. During her long healing, Kahlo taught herself to paint and read a lot, focusing on the Old Masters’ art. Kahlo painted a majestic waist-length portrait of herself on a dark background with swirling stylised waves in one of her early works, Self-Portrait Wearing a Velvet Dress (1926). Despite the painting’s abstract nature, Kahlo’s delicate modelling of her face demonstrates her interest in realism.

(Realism, in the arts, the accurate, detailed, unembellished depiction of nature or of contemporary life)

She soon changed her painting style with an interest in Mexican folk art. Her themes are flatter and more abstract in these works than in her earlier work. She created the pieces while touring around the United States with her husband, Diego Rivera, who had received mural orders from a number of places.

Kahlo and Rivera returned to Mexico in 1933. In 1938, she had her first solo exhibition, which was a huge success at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York. Kahlo flew to Paris the next year to exhibit her art. The Frame (c. 1938), one of Kahlo’s works, was acquired by the Louvre, making her the first 20th-century Mexican painter to be included in the collection of the museum.

Despite her deteriorating health in the 1940s, she painted several self-portraits with a variety of hairstyles, clothes, and iconography, always portraying herself with an emotionless, unwavering look for which she became famous. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, she had many operations, several of which required lengthy hospital stays. Her poor health forced her to attend her first solo show in Mexico while laying on a bed in 1953, and she died later that year.

Despite her success as an artist during her lifetime, Kahlo’s posthumous fame rose gradually from the 1970s through the twenty-first century, reaching what some commentators dubbed “Fridamania.” She is perhaps one of the most well-known 20th-century painters. In the decades after her death, the dramatic events of her life inspired a slew of novels and films. Following Kahlo’s death, the feminist movement of the 1970s reawakened interest in her life and work, since she was regarded as a symbol of female brilliance by many. She is acclaimed in Mexico for her respect for Mexican and native culture and by feminists for her representation of the feminine experience and shape.

Key points summary

  • Frida Kahlo, whose original name was Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón, was a Mexican artist most known for her bold and brightly coloured self-portraits
  • She was born in 1907, although she falsified her birth date to 1910 so that her birth coincides with the Mexican Revolution
  • Kahlo explored her identity by portraying her heritage as binary opposites
  • She was badly injured in a bus accident in 1925, and she had to endure more than 30 surgical surgeries throughout the course of her life.
  • In 1938, she had her first solo exhibition, which was a huge success at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York
  • The Frame (c. 1938), one of Kahlo’s works, was acquired by the Louvre, making her the first 20th-century Mexican painter to be included in the collection of the museum.
  • in the 1940s, she painted several self-portraits with a variety of hairstyles, clothes, and iconography
  • Her poor health forced her to attend her first solo show in Mexico while laying on a bed in 1953, and she died later that year.
  • Kahlo’s posthumous fame rose gradually from the 1970s through the twenty-first century
  • In the decades after her death, the dramatic events of her life inspired a slew of novels and films.
  • She is acclaimed in Mexico for her respect for Mexican and native culture and by feminists for her representation of the feminine experience and shape.

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Headline Image source https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/ff/Frida-kahlo.jpg

Arrtibution: Lrmcdon, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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