Frida Kahlo: Dreams and Realities

Frida Kahlo: Dreams and Realities
Fecha de publicación: 
27 March 2024
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When she dreamed of the son she always longed for, her eyes opened to new dawns; she knew that motherhood for her was impossible, but she didn't stop imagine it. Many times Diego surprised Frida in the solitude of the room creating sorcerous paper popcorn for that being so desired whom however, she was never able to fill her lives with joy.

Frida, one and many at a time, dressed in the regional costumes of Mexico that she loved so much, combative at the forefront of popular demonstrations, feminist and one of the most endearing painters of the 20th century, she is considered pop culture icon.

A very special artist


Her full name was Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo and she was born on July 6, 1907, in Coyoacán. Her father was Guillermo Kahlo, the first official photographer of the cultural heritage of Mexico. From a very young age she enjoyed coloring images. It’s known that during her academic years she had affairs with Alejandro Gómez Arias, from the group Los Cachuchas that was going to meet Diego Rivera when he painted on the walls of the Bolívar amphitheater, in the National Preparatory School of Mexico City. Frida had a terrible accident: a truck collided with the bus in which she was traveling. Multiple were the fractures that left her right leg disabled forever. In her bed, where she was convalescing, she asked her father for a notebook and colored pencils and she began to create. Her mishap and the polio she had suffered left her invalid she underwent 32 operations. She was not intimidated and as Gómez Arias said “began to die and live.”

She painted with haunting force her own drama reflected in many of her self-portraits in a compelling confession painting.
She married the notorious muralist Diego Rivera and together they lived for 25 years in a stormy union that from the beginning her mother did not see with kind eyes when defining it as the marriage of an elephant with a dove.
Much has been said about each person's love relationships and it’s even said that Diego had Cristina, the younger sister of the painter girl, as a model and lover.

As for Frida, she was linked to a romance with the Russian leader León Trotsky whom she hosted in her house during the period of his exile. After he was murdered, both she and Diego were arrested and released a few days later. Several lesbian relationships have also been attributed to the painter.

Artistic successes

She held her first major exhibition at the Julián Levy gallery, in Nueva York, in 1938. The French writer André Bretón included her among the surrealists, although she did not consider herself within that artistic trend. She said: “I never painted my dreams. I painted my own reality.” That same year she would divorce Diego to marry him again.

The artist also exhibited in Paris with the photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo and her paintings greatly impressed Kandinsky and Picasso.

When referring to Frida's work, Diego Rivera described it as “the most acute and terrible vital concentrate made into paint, a very crude caress that was done within the most bitter and greatest poetry of our time."

When Diego was hired to paint murals in Detroit, not only she accompanied but she made some valuable paintings. He revealed: “Frida began working on a series of unprecedented masterpieces in the history of art, paintings that exalted the feminine quality of truth, reality, cruelty and punishment. Never before had a woman put such tormented poetry on the canvas like Frida in this era of Detroit.”

At that time, her motherhood was again frustrated with another abortion that she overcame with sadness.

On July 2, 1954, more than ten thousand people demonstrated from Santo Domingo square to the Zócalo to protest the fall of the democratic government of Jacobo Arbenz, in Guatemala. Frida in her wheelchair joined the activity.

Days later, on the 13th, she died. She had said “When I die burn my body. I don't want to be buried. I've spent a lot of time lying down. Simply burn it!”

The artist latest act on earth was described by Guillermo Monroy, who was her friend?

“That July afternoon in 1954, the clouds were gray and crying in silence; her tiny, fresh tears fell sadly on the gray foliage that swayed lightly over the peaceful tombs, over all the countless friends and admirers who gathered and surrounded by a blanket of anguish, we were around the crematorium oven of the Dolores Civil Pantheon, to bid her farewell.

In her brightly colored Tehuano dress, Frida lay on the plank. As the corpse was put into the oven, hymns of the proletariat were heard and songs like La Valentina, La Coronela, Adiós, mi chaparrita and others she liked to hum.
According to Monroy, “Diego Rivera, her beloved child, painter, husband and comrade, whose  presence was impressive, with delicate movements, she lowered her right hand that still remained with a clenched fist, and then, gently, he extracted from his jacket pocket the irreplaceable, indispensable for him, and faithful notebook and drew with deep seriousness and endearing love, the ashes of his lover.”

With her art revalued, Kahlo's paintings have been acquired by important museums in the world such as the Louvre. Her work is authentic expression of who created from pain without ever forgetting hope.

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