A Life In Pictures: Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo was an incredibly talented, Mexican artist.  She painted her reality, rather than her dreams.  Her life was brief and quite pain filled.

A photograph of the artist, circa 1945, with a painting of her husband Diego Rivera
1945 – Frida Kahlo with a portrait of her husband, Diego Rivera.

As a youngster she contracted Polio, which made her right leg thinner than her other.  In 1925 she was involved in a traffic accident that crushed her right leg and caused many other injuries.  She was in a full body cast for about three months.  Although she recovered from her injuries she would suffer relapses and be in intense pain for the rest of her life.  Frida often wore long skirts to hide her leg:

A colourful dress that belonged to KahloKahlo wore beautiful clothes.  Her clothing choices were a mix between fashion and folk.



Her clothes were often bright and colourful with beautiful embroidered patterns.  Those shoes above were amazing!  She had stacked heels on her shoes (one was slightly higher than the other because of her right leg being smaller than her left leg due to polio).

She also wore corsets to minimise the pain from polio and also the accident she was in.

The back of the corset worn by Kahlo

After her accident, Frida Kahlo began to paint (before hand she had been studying medicine).  Frida created many self-portraits.

Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird

Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress – 1926.

'Self Portrait', 1940 (oil on board)

She claimed that:

“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”

Frida Kahlo met Diego Rivera in 1927 and he encouraged her to continue to work on her artwork.

Kahlo married Diego Rivera in 1929, however they often had extramarital affairs.  They divorced in November 1939 and remarried again in December 1940.

In 1952 Kahlo’s right leg was amputated below the knee due to gangrene.  She designed her own ‘leg’:

It wasn’t until the 70s and 80s (decades after her death) that her artwork became popular and well known.

The Two Fridas.

And there it is a very brief history of Frida Kahlo.

Here are some of my favourite quotes from her:

1. I was born a bitch. I was born a painter.

2. I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.

3. Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light.


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