Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907–1954) is one of Mexico’s most celebrated and well-known artists, renowned for her surrealistic paintings and self-portraits. Born in Coyoacán, at the age of six, Kahlo contracted polio, leaving one leg shorter than the other, which she covered with long skirts. Kahlo attended the renowned National Preparatory School in Mexico City, where she first met the famous Mexican muralist
Kahlo reconnected with Rivera in 1928. The two soon began a romantic relationship, and were eventually married. During their earlier years together, the two moved many times for Rivera’s work, spending time in San Francisco, New York, and Detroit. During this time, Kahlo often occupied herself by painting, particularly because the chronic pain she experienced frequently left her immobilized.
In 1938, Kahlo befriended noted Surrealist artist
In 1944, Kahlo painted one of her most famous portraits, The Broken Column. In this work, she is naked from the waist up and split down the middle, with a surgical brace wrapped around her chest and torso. Her spine appears as a shattered column and everywhere on her body, the artist painted nails. This work exemplifies her unique and expressive use of color and symbolism, as well as her use of Surrealist techniques coupled with elements of traditional Mexican painting.
Her health worsened in the 1950s, though she continued to paint and show her works. She died in her home in Mexico City at the age of 47.
Her popularity grew after her death, with her famous Blue House converted into a museum in 1958. She also served as an icon during the feminist movement in the 1970s. In 2002, her life was the subject of the movie Frida, which starred Salma Hayek and Alfred Molina, and was nominated for six Academy Awards.