Frida Kahlo de Rivera was an artist born in 1907 in the city of Coyoacán, Mexico. She is celebrated for her work, primarily self portraits, which boasted originality with every stroke. Kahlo expressed her deep rooted Mexican and indigenous culture in every single piece of hers. Recognizable by her bold eyebrows and her eccentric attitude, Frida Kahlo is the artist to know.
1. Frida Kahlo defied society's beauty standards
Frida Kahlo was radical in every sense of the word. She took it upon herself to purposely darken her facial hair as a statement. Kahlo didn't care to fit with the norm, she subverted to the concept of femininity and the idea that beauty meant having only Euro-centric features.
2. Frida Kahlo was un-apologetically bisexual
Frida Kahlo and Chavela Vargas, c.1950 - Musetouch Visual Arts Magazine
Kahlo ventured into different parts of herself quite often. In her time, women weren't accepted as being individuals who could be fluid with their sexuality. Of course, Frida Kahlo didn't care to subject to such restrictions. She said to have had a lot of lovers including Josephine Baker, Dolores del Rio, Paulette Goddard and Maria Felix as well as the prestige American painter, Georgia O'Keeffe.
3. She had exotic animals as pets
Frida Kahlo and her pet deer, Granizo, 1939, photograph by Nickolas Muray
The artist incorporated her animals in many of her portraits. She owned a spider monkey, a fawn, birds, and a dogs throughout her lifetime.
4. Her artwork is extremely genuine and raw
The Two Fridas by Frida Kahlo (1939)
Frida Kahlo suffered from a lot of pain and downfalls due to a bus accident she was involved in as a young girl. It resulted in a severe spine condition and a lot of time laying in bed immobile. She painted as a pastime and deeply channeled her roots and hardships. The painting above showcases her internal thoughts after having suffered several miscarriages due to her physical condition.
5. She never cared for gender roles
Sometimes the abstract artist cross-dressed as a political statement. "She dressed like boy with shaved hair, pants, boots, and a leather jacket" in attempt to create an eye-catching attraction that's hard to miss.
6. Kahlo survived an accident that should've killed her
Frida Kahlo after an operation, 1946
Although Frida suffered a lot, she endured that pain until her late 40's. Frida Kahlo was involved in a bus accident that ending up essentially ruining her spine, because of the lack of proper procedures and medical equipment at the time. She was diagnosed with scoliosis, and she had consistent problems with her hips and knees. Kahlo spent a lot of time in a wheelchair or on bed rest where she created some of her best work.
7. She looked to herself for inspiration
Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird by Frida Kahlo (1940)
Frida Kahlo stated “I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.” She looked to herself to create beauty out of the abyss she found herself in.
8. She lived in a blue house
What is now The Frida Kahlo Museum was once Frida Kahlo's family home in Mexico City. It was nicknamed "La Casa Azul" or "The Blue House" because of it's beautiful vibrant shade of blue. Frida spent the majority of her life in that house, and so personal objects are left in their place as a look into her personal life.
9. Her long-term spouse was another artist
Although Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo had a rough marriage, she loved him deeply. Kahlo was found herself separating from Rivera only to unite once more. She wrote about him and painted about him. One of her journal entries includes "I love you more than my own skin and even though you don’t love me the same way, you love me anyways, don’t you? And if you don’t, I’ll always have the hope that you do, and i’m satisfied with that. Love me a little. I adore you.” He wasn't good for her, and she was aware, but ultimately that didn't seem to matter.
10. Frida Kahlo de Rivera is unlike any other artist
Frida Kahlo with a Portrait of Her Father
Frida Kahlo is truly remarkable. She acknowledged her insecurities and her flaws, and she created life and beauty out of them.There will never be an artist with such imperfect grace or original distinction.