Art of Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo, daughter of a German descendant father named Guillermo and a half Amerindian and half Spanish mother named Matilde was born and raised in Coyoacán, Mexico. Frida was in poor health conditions during her childhood. At the age of six, she contracted polio due to this disease she was in bed rest for a period of nine months. This disease did not only have her on bed rest but, also caused her right leg to be much thinner than her left one. Throughout her life, she wore long skirts to hide the fact that she was a carrier of the polio disease. However, she overcame the polio disease since her father encouraged her to play sports such as soccer, swimming and also wrestling which was very ironic for a girl (Editors, 2014). In late 1925, she commenced her artistic career with her painting ‘Self-portrait in a Velvet Dress’ after she was in a tragic accident on September 17th which involved a school friend named Alejandro Gomez Arias, whom she had a romantic relationship with (Editors, 2014). In this accident, the bus driver collided with a car, which resulted in a steel handrail go through her hip and out. This tragic injury caused her severe injuries which resulted in fractures in her spine and pelvis, due to this accident Frida could no longer have children of her own. Throughout this academic research paper, I will be discussing Frida’s pieces of artwork which I find interesting and what certain things symbolize in her artwork. Also, a comparison between her artwork and the artwork of other artists during her time period. Besides that, she is one of Mexico’s greatest artist and an iconic feminist figure throughout the globe.

An artwork which I found interesting was the double self-portrait she painted in 1939 during her divorce with Diego Rivera. This 68 by 68 oil on canvas self-portrait named ‘The Two Fridas, interpreted her emotional pain experiences due to her divorce with Diego as stated earlier (Garcia, 2015.) According to Amy Stechler, the movie producer of ‘The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo,’ there are specific main points which symbolize sadness and change in this artwork. In this self-portrait, Frida on the left is wearing a white European dress which indicates the new Frida whom Diego does not love anymore and shows her heritage which she inherits from both of her parents. The blood stains on her white dress are indications of everything that has to happen to her throughout her life such as surgeries, miscarriages and the mentally and emotionally loss of Diego. The Frida on the right who is wearing a traditional Mexican blouse and skirt symbolizes the Frida who is still in love with Diego. In this artwork, Frida on the right is holding a locket with a picture of Diego which represents how close she and Diego were Frida did not only see Diego as her lover but her child also. After Frida Kahlo died, this artifact was found in her possession and is now an artifact in the ‘Museo Frida Kahlo’s Collection’ (Stechler, 2005.)

There were two other pieces of artwork which I found interesting they were two other self-portraits she titled ‘Self-Portrait With Loose Hair’ and ‘Self-portrait at the Border Between Mexico and the US.’ In the self-portrait in which she titled ‘Self-Portrait With Loose Hair,’ she utilized the oil paint as her medium. The purpose I personally found this self-portrait interesting was because she barely painted self-portraits of herself with her hair loose. Her hair in this artwork was the main focal point since her long beautiful silky hair was her husband Diego Rivera’s admiration. There is also a script that she wrote on the painting in Spanish which translates as ‘Here I painted myself I, Frida Kahlo, with my reflection on the mirror. I am thirty-seven years old y it is July of the year 1947. In Coyoacán, Mexico, the site where I was born’ in English. This artwork also seems to be a piece of artwork which reinforces her identity as a human since it mentions information about her (Garcia, 2015.)

The last artwork which I admire is the self-portrait she titled ‘Self-portrait at the Border Between Mexico and the US’ this portrait was based off when Diego was given an opportunity in working in the US, so both Frida and Diego migrated to the US which they ended up staying for approximately three years. However, Diego was enjoying his new life but Frida was not emotionally feeling the same as Diego did she truly missed her traditional Mexican roots where she came from (Garcia, 2015.) This painting has Frida Kahlo in the center, between the borderlines of Mexico and the US wearing a pink dress and holding a Mexico flag. The Mexico flag symbolizes loyalty, her loyalty and her love for her country Mexico. The factories and skyscrapers in the background represent the US side which symbolizes industrialization due to the new technological advancements. The left side of her painting includes vibrant colors and an Aztec site which represents her traditional roots from where she was born and raised (Stechler, 2005.)

Frida Kahlo was a surrealist artist, but half of her artwork was in self-portrait style which was different from other artists during the Naive Art period since a majority of the artist at the time period produced landscape artwork. Henri Rousseau a French post-impressionist painter had a similar concept of work as Frida Kahlo had (Vallier, 2018.) They both utilize oil paint as their medium in a majority of their artwork and both have objects in which symbolizes them. Another artist who was like Frida Kahlo was Horace Pippin. Pippin was an African-American painter who lost the use of his right arm after a shooting (Editors, 2014.) Frida also had a major injury at the beginning of her art career in 1925.

Frida Kahlo compared to all of the artists during the Naive Art time period could be considered as abnormal, unique, and iconic. Abnormal due to her lifestyle and the life she lived. At a young age, Frida commenced playing sports which were not normal for girls to play such as wrestling. At a point in her life, she had affairs with both men and women when she commenced on exploring her love life later considered herself bisexual. The word ‘unique’ describes her artwork, her appearance, and her talent. Her artwork was different during the naive art period from others. Her appearance was unique due to her unibrow, but also her talent which Diego captured. He viewed Frida as special and uniquely female Mexican artist. Frida was not only abnormal and unique, but she was also an iconic figure.

Frida Kahlo was a surrealist artist, but half of her artwork was in self-portrait style which was different from other artists during the Naive Art period since a majority of the artist at the time period produced landscape artwork. Henri Rousseau a French post-impressionist painter had a similar concept of work as Frida Kahlo had (Vallier, 2018.) They both utilize oil paint as their medium in a majority of their artwork and both have objects in which symbolizes them. Another artist who was like Frida Kahlo was Horace Pippin. Pippin was an African-American painter who lost the use of his right arm after a shooting (Editors, 2014.) Frida also had a major injury at the beginning of her art career in 1925.

Frida Kahlo compared to all of the artists during the Naive Art time period could be considered as abnormal, unique, and iconic. Abnormal due to her lifestyle and the life she lived. At a young age, Frida commenced playing sports which were not normal for girls to play such as wrestling. At a point in her life, she had affairs with both men and women when she commenced on exploring her love life later considered herself bisexual. The word ‘unique’ describes her artwork, her appearance, and her talent. Her artwork was different during the naive art period from others. Her appearance was unique due to her unibrow, but also her talent which Diego captured. He viewed Frida as special and uniquely female Mexican artist. Frida was not only abnormal and unique, but she was also an iconic figure.