Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)
Why did the real Frida give her birth date as July 7, 1910, contradicting the July 6, 1907 birth date on her birth certificate?

1910 was the year of the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution. Frida wanted her life to begin with the modern Mexico.

Diego Rivera con Frida Kahlo, ella pintando uno de sus retratos, 1942

My Parents, My Grandparents and I Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) 
My Grandparents, My Parents, and I (Family Tree), 1936
Oil and tempera on metal panel, 
12 1/8 x 13 5/8" (30.7 x 34.5 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York

 Jakob Heinrich Kahlo (Külo) 
and Henriette Kahlo (née Kaufmann) 
were originally from the city of Arad, 
which was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire 
and is currently in Romania. 
They moved to Germany and settled 
near Baden-Baden in the late 1860s. 

Wedding photograph of Guillermo Kahlo 
and Matilde Calderón, 1898

Nazi Diagram Explaining who was Jewish
Henri Rousseau "The Present and the Past."

In his painting, Rousseau depicts himself and his wife, 
Josephine, standing behind a flowering tree. 
Above the couple, on fluffy clouds in the sky, the artist's 
formerly bearded face is set alongside that of his first, 
deceased wife, Clemence. 

Casa Azul, or The Blue House belonging to Frida Kahlo
Casa Azul in Coyoacan
Coyoacan, La Casa Azul (The Blue House) 

Francis H. Ramsbotham, 
The Principles and Practice of 
Obstetric Medicine and Surgery 
in Reference to the Process of Parturition 
(Philadelphia: Blanchard and Lea, 1857)

Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo, 
Portrait of Guillermo Kahlo, 1952
Carlos Veraza, Alfonso Rue, Frida, Carmelo Navarro and Cristina Kahlo
Carlos Veraza, Alfonso Rue, 
Frida, Carmelo Navarro 
and Cristina Kahlo
Photo credit: Kahlo, Guillermo
Frida and Cristina
Frida and Cristina

Portrait of Cristina Kahlo 1928
was auctioned at Sotheby's for $1,655,750

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Self-Portrait, 1930
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Self-Portrait, 1941

Frida by Kahlo:  A story in Self-Portraits

On the afternoon of September 17, 1925, Frida and her friend Alex was involved in a severe Bus vs. Streetcar crash, and Frida was damaged very severely.  A metal rod had made a very deep abdominal wound, and her third and fourth lumbar vertebrae were fractured.   Frida had received many more wounds too, and she ended up trapped in a body cast for months, as her illustration shows:

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The Accident, 17 September 1926

While Frida was confined to her bed, her mother brought her a small lap easel, and Frida started to paint.  She had studied art before, at the National Preparatory School, where she had met Diego Rivera when he was painting the Creation mural, but Frida had never worked on paintings before.  Over her bed, Frida had a mirror so she could see herself, and this was the beginning of her focus on self portraits.


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The Bus, 1929
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Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait, 1929

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Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, 1930
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Frida and Diego Rivera, 1931

Frida Married Diego in 1929Frida was a close friend of Tina Modotti, who modelled for Diego Rivera, and through her Frida and Diego met again, and fell in love.  They married August 21st, 1929.

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Henry Ford Hospital, 1932
In the fall of 1930 Frida traveled with Diego to San Francisco, where Diego worked on murals at the Pacific Stock Exchange and the California School of Fine Arts, and in the summer of 1931 they went to New York where Diego had a major exhibition of his work.   Then, in the spring of 1932, they moved to Detroit, where Diego worked on a series of murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts.  At this time Frida had become pregnant, however, after the bus accident in 1925 she could not have children, and complications arose.  Frida's trauma in the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit is illustrated in her painting.

A Few Small Nips 1935

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Self-Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky 
(Between the Curtains), 1937
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Diego was a supporter of Leon Trotsky, who Stalin had ousted from the Soviet Union, a few years after the death of Lenin, and Diego helped Trotsky move to Mexico early in 1937.  There Leon and his wife Natalia got to stay in Frida's house in Coyoacan, the Casa Azul.  Frida was very fond of Trotsky, and they had a very brief affair.  For Leon's birthday November 7th, Frida painted the Between the Curtains portrait for him:

What the Water Gave Me, 1938
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The Two Fridas, 1939

Self portrait in 1940
In 1939 Diego and Frida divorced, and Frida felt very sad and distraught by this.   She produced many fine paintings in this period, but being devastated by the divorce, she consumed a lot of liquor, and her health deteriorated rapidly.  She had circulatory and other problems associated with the incidents she had had before.

Frida's health was poor, and she moved back with Diego, who was painting a mural in San Francisco.  There Frida got proper medical treatment and rest, and she recovered rapidly.  December 8, 1940, Diego and Frida married again.

Jose Guadalupe Posada - Calaveras
Jose Guadalupe Posada - Calaveras
Jose Guadalupe Posada - Calaveras


The Dream
The Dream  1940  Oil on Canvas.
The Judas figures are usually seen in the streets of Mexico on Easter Saturday, since it is believed that the traitor will only find release in suicide. The skeleton wires and explosives represent that at any moment they will explode, making her dream of death a reality. Her preoccupation of death can be seen in her paintings and in her house because she had skeletons and dead children hanging on the walls.

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Self-Portrait with Monkey and Parrot, 1942
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Diego and Frida, 1944

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The Broken Column, 1944

Frida Kahlo, Without Hope, 1945. 
Oil on Canvas mounted on Masonite, 
11" x 14 1/4". 
Dolores Olmedo Foundation, Mexico.

Alfonso Toro,  La Familia Carvajal 
 (Mexico City: Editorial Patria, 1944) 
 Mendel Gottesman Library of Hebraica/Judaica, Yeshiva University 

 Kahlo owned two copies of  Alfonso Toro's La Familia  Carvajal. She kept one two-volume set on a shelf  near her bed, and another in  her studio library. Toro's  books offer a detailed study of the history of the persecution of "hidden" Jews by the Mexican Inquisition.

They include vivid descriptions and illustrations of interrogation and torture.  Various reproductions in La Familia Carvajal are related to the central image depicted in Without Hope. In one of  Kahlo's diary entries from 1944, among common, everyday words and phrases, the word potro virtually obsolete in twentieth-century Mexico appears.

Little Deer, 1946 

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Diego and I, 1949
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The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico),
Me, Diego, and Mr. Xolotl, 1949


 Self Portrait with Dr. Juan Farill (1951)
Frida in bed at final opening, with Concha Michel, Antonio Pelaez, Dr. Roberto Garza, Carmen Farell, Dr. Atl
Frida in bed at final opening, 
with Concha Michel, Antonio Pelaez, 
Dr. Roberto Garza, Carmen Farell, 
Dr. Atl

What happened to Diego Rivera after Frida Kahlo's death in 1954?

It is said that Frida's husband, Diego Rivera, ate some of Frida's ashes after her cremation. A year later in 1955, Diego married Emma Hurtado, his art dealer since 1946. Diego set up a trust fund to provide for the administration of Anahuacalli and Frida Kahlo's Coyoacán homes as museums. At age 70, Diego Rivera died of heart failure in his San Angel studio. He is buried in the Rotonda de los Hombres Ilustres at the pantheon of Dolores, Mexico City.