Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderon (Born July 6, 1907 - Died July 13, 1954), Mexican painter. A twentieth century icon of popular culture, the painter is known for his fluctuating private life and political views as well as his paintings. Although his art was defined as surrealist, he rejected this definition. She is the wife of painter Diego Rivera.
He was born in 1907 in Coyoacán, south of Mexico City. Although he was born on July 6, 1907, he declared his date of birth as July 7, 1910, the day of the Mexican revolution, wishing that his life began with the birth of modern Mexico.
One leg was disabled as a result of polio when he was six years old, and he was called "Wooden Leg Frida". Knowing how to deal with this disability, Frida studied at the National Preparatory School, which gave the best education of the period, when she was a teenager. This school led him to fields such as art, literature, and philosophy. Alejandro Gomez Arias, Jose Gomez Robleda, and Alfonso Villa, who will be known as important figures of Mexican intellectual life in the future, became school friends. At the school, he joined an anarchist literary group; started to form a strong personality. A traffic accident he had at the age of 18 changed his whole life.
On September 17, 1925, in the accident where many people died as a result of the bus collided with the tram on his way home from school, one of the iron bars of the tram entered through Frida's left hip and came out of his pelvis. After the accident, his whole life will be spent in corsets, hospitals and doctors; He will live with constant pain in his spine and right leg, he will be operated 32 times and his right leg, which was disabled due to polio, will be amputated in 1954 due to gangrene.
After leaving the hospital a month after the accident, Kahlo began painting to escape from boredom and pain with the encouragement of her family. He made self-portraits, looking at the mirror in the ceiling of his bed. His first self-portrait is “Self-Portrait in Velvet Dress” (1926).
Kahlo, who started to walk at the end of 1927, began to get closer to the art and politics circles during this period. He met and became close friends with Cuban leader Julio Antonio Mella and photographer Tina Modotti. Together they began to participate in the invitations of the artists of the period and the discussions of socialists. Kahlo became a member of the Mexican Communist Party in 1929.
Continuing to paint, Kahlo met Diego Rivera, the famous painter known as Michelangelo of Mexico, through her friend Tina Modotti at the same time and showed her her paintings. The two painters, who were romantically linked, married on 21 August 1929. Frida became Rivera's third wife. Their marriage has been compared to the "marriage of an elephant and a pigeon."
The artist made his second self-portrait the same year he got married (The work was purchased by an American collector in 2000 for 5 million USD). In the same year, Frida Kahlo left after Rivera's expulsion from the Communist Party. He went to the USA with his wife in 1930 and lived with him until 1933 when Rivera finished ordering murals. Two years after their marriage, he made his painting "Frieda and Diego Rivera" (1931) based on photographs of a wedding. This work, which was exhibited at the annual exhibition of the San Francisco Women Painters Society, was her first painting in an exhibition.
The couple had a tumultuous marriage life. Having taken a child because of health problems and had two miscarriages, Frida separated from her in 1939 due to her husband's infidelity, but they remarried one year later and settled in the "Blue House" where Frida spent her childhood.
Frida also had relationships with various men during their marriage. One of them was Leon Trotsky, one of the leading figures of the Russian revolution. Trotsky arrived in Mexico in 1937 with Rivera's special permission from the Mexican President and settled in Frida's home. When Trotsky's wife realized the relationship between them, Frida left Trotsky. After the assassination of Trotsky, Frida, who was questioned for being the friend of the assassin painter Siqueiros, found it appropriate to leave Mexico for a while; He went to his ex-wife Rivera, who was in San Francisco at the time, and the couple remarried there.
The last years
Frequently her health deteriorated, Frida painted with all her might to deal with unbearable pain; He held exhibitions not only in his country, but also in America and France. The exhibition he opened in New York in 1938 brought him great fame and received praise with the Paris exhibition in 1939.
Frida began teaching at a new art school called La Esmeralda in 1943, and continued teaching for ten years, despite her poor health. Since he could not go to Mexico City due to health conditions, he was giving his lessons at home. His students were called "Los Fridos" (Frida students).
In 1948 he applied to join the Mexican Communist Party again and his application was granted.
He was hospitalized in 1950 due to problems with his spine and stayed in the hospital for 9 months. He opened a solo exhibition in Mexico City in April 1953; Her right leg was amputated in July.
Frida Kahlo, on July 13, 1954, when she gave her last breath with a diagnosis of pulmonary embolism; the last painting he left behind; It was a still life named Long Live Life. His funeral was cremated the next day. His ashes are kept in the Blue House. The Blue House was donated to the state in 1955 by Rivera.
Movies about his life
- Frida Kahlo's life was transferred to the cinema under the name Frida, and Salma Hayek played Kahlo in this film (2002).
- In 2005, a documentary film titled "The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo" about her life was shot.
There are 143 paintings of Frida Kahlo; 55 of them are self-portraits. Since he spent most of his life in bed looking at a mirror above his head, which he described as "the executioner of his days and nights", he constantly painted self-portraits. The mastery of his paintings made Pablo Picasso say, "We don't know how to draw human faces like him."
Frida, who constantly keeps pets, has two portraits of the animals she keeps: "Me and My Parrots" in 1941 and "Self-Portrait with Monkeys" in 1943.
Although Frida's paintings are considered "surrealist", she rejected surrealism. His paintings actually reflected the painful and exact reality. Mexican culture and revolutionary national identity were transferred to the canvas in Frida's paintings.
In 1938, Kahlo opened an exhibition in New York with the support of his friend Andre Breton, one of the pioneers of surrealist painting, and this exhibition brought him international fame. He made his first big sale by selling his 4 paintings to actor Edward G. Robinson, half of his paintings were sold. Following this success, he opened an exhibition in Paris in 1939. Although not much official was sold at the Paris exhibition, his works attracted great attention; It won the praise of artists such as Picasso and Kandinsky; The Louvre Museum bought the artist's painting Frame. The artist opened his first solo exhibition in his country in 1953 in his gallery in Mexico. He was carried in his cot to the opening of the exhibition, as his doctor forbade him to leave his bed.