Frida Kahlo (Mexican Painter)

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2015-06-26 10:58:56

Frida Kahlo was an influential Mexican painter.

Brief biography of artist

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist. Born on 6th July 1907, her early life was blighted by contracting polio at the age of six, leaving her with a shorter right leg, which she began to cover with long dresses. In 1925, at the age of eighteen, and shortly before she was due to attend medical school, Kahlo was involved in a serious bus crash, sustaining permanent injuries which left her disabled; she would later undergo several instances of back surgery in an attempt to recover her mobility, but instead the surgery merely caused her to be in constant pain.

Kahlo married Diego Rivera, a famed Mexican artist in his own right, in 1929. Both had numerous affairs and a tumultuous relationship, leading to a divorce in 1939. The remarried in 1940, though frequently lived seperately thereafter. Kahlo died in Mexico City on 13th July 1954. She has received significant attention posthomously, though it took many years after her death for her talent to be acnowledged, and in many ways she remained obscure until the 1980s, when a new wave of Mexican art began to take prominence and Kahlo herself began to obtain recognition.

Guide for collectors

Kahlo is best known for her self portraits, of which she created several. She is also considered as a feminist icon of sorts, having overcome great adversity during her lifetime and incorporating several depictions of female life and experience into her work.

The vast majority of Kahlo’s works are either involved in travelling exhibits or in residency in Mexico, making them unavailable for public sale, but prints and reproductions of Kahlo’s work, including the famous ‘The Two Fridas’, can be purchased in the region of around $250 and on rare ocassions, a high-profile sale of the artists work will occur at a major auction house, such as the sale which occurred at Sotheby’s in 2006.

Most expensive work

Kahlo’s painting ‘Roots’, sold for $5,616,000 from Sotheby’s auction house on 24th May 2006, and thusly set a record for Latin American artwork. The painting, created in 1943, is one of her self-portraits, which Kahlo devised as marking her reunion with her estranged husband.

The weeds entwining themselves around her body represent Kahlo’s growing concern over the physical traumas suffered by her body and her connection to her femininity, as well as her unrequited desire to have children of her own and thusly ‘connect’ with the female experience.

Most famous works

Kahlo’s most famous work is arguably ‘The Two Fridas’, a piece she completed in 1939. The painting was created following her divorce from husband Diego. It was also the first large-scale piece by Kahlo. One the left side of the painting sits Frida in traditional Mexican dress, and on the other, the cosmopolitan and trendily dressed Frida, who is holding traditional Frida’s hand, clearly supporting her.

In addition to this symbolism, the hearts of both the figures are visible, but the traditional figure’s heart is torn apart, and it’s main artery severed. The heart of the stronger Frida is intact, however, and is providing support to traditional Frida through a connecting vein. The viewer is left to ponder what it is that has caused the traditional figure such a figuratively terrible state, and additionally speculate as to what makes the stronger Frida able to support not only herself but her more fragile twin.

The painting is currently in residence at the Collection of the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City.

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