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Frida Kahlo

Mexico Born in: 1907 Masterpieces
Movement: Cubism

Frida Kahlo is one of the most prominent figures of twentieth-century art! Her self-portraits and her life story have touched millions of art lovers.

Born in Mexico in 1907, Kahlo's complicated childhood foreshadowed the many tragedies she would suffer later in life. At the age of six, she fell ill with poliomyelitis. In 1925, she was involved in a severe bus accident: impaled on a metal bar, she was paralysed and bedridden for several months. During the long period of recovery, she painted her own reflection that she could see in the mirror above her bed.

In 1928, after Kahlo regained her health, she joined the Communist Party and met the painter Diego Rivera. They fell in love and married in 1929. The couple then moved to San Francisco. Unfortunately, Kahlo suffered two miscarriages. This new tragedy fuelled her creativity and further self-portraits. Kahlo created some of her most famous works during this time: “A Few Small Nips" (Unos Cuantos Piquetitos) and “The Flying Bed" (La Cama Volando), in which she depicts the traumatic events.

In 1938, after returning to Mexico, Kahlo met some of the most prominent surrealist painters: André Breton, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, and many others. She became close friends with André Breton's wife, Jacqueline Lamba, who helped Kahlo conquer the art world. Frida Kahlo began exhibiting her work in New York and was tremendously successful: all her paintings were sold!

Unfortunately, this period of prosperity was clouded by her divorce (she remarried Diego Rivera in 1940), but also by the reappearance of effects linked to her accident. Her right leg had to be amputated.

Kahlo died at the age of 47 due to pneumonia. She left behind several masterpieces: 143 paintings, mainly small in size, which depicted the artist on her own, with family, or surrounded by animals.

Kahlo immortalised her physical suffering through powerful symbols: animals that represent the children she was unable to conceive or thorns cutting her throat to show that a human being can bear more than he thinks. Her paintings also contain Christian symbols, symbols that represent suffering, symbols relating to the search for identity, and many others.

As an artist and painter, Kahlo drew inspiration from the defining moments in her life, such as her abortion, her sexuality, and her physical and mental suffering.

Her works have been displayed at the Grand Palais in Paris, the MoMA in New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. They have marked the History of Art.

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