Born in Mexico City, Frida Kahlo had a very emotional, painful, and strenuous life, but still, she persisted, and became one of the most famous artists of all time.
Every time we've seen art that mirrored the battles of Frida Kahlo, we had to wonder what happened in her life to make her such a tortured artist. With Women's History Month transpiring right now, we decided to dig a little deeper to find out the story behind the tenacity driven, out of the box thinking woman that was Frida Kahlo.
She Was Seemingly Unafraid Of Any Challenge
Frida had lived through a lot of pain in her early years of life. And that was before she met Diego Rivera. *Giggling and Knee Slapping* - But seriously, the woman contracted polio at the age of 6, and survived a bus crash that left her in a severe amount of pain for most of her life, according to Biography.com. She even underwent spinal surgery, which influenced her piece called "Broken Column," which you can view here (NSFW). According to FridaKahlo.org, she underwent 30 different surgeries. She kept pushing, and most of her art illustrated the trials of her life, or her reflection of herself. Think of it as artistic therapy.
Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait Wearing a Red Velvet Dress
She Was Pretty Much The First Woman To Do Selfies
Move over, Kim Kardashian! Out of 143 paintings, FridaKahlo.org shares that 55 of them are self portraits. We didn't have smartphones at this time, and these are a lot more artistic and emotionally driven than an occasional Snapchat, so that's either something to consider as very self-aware or very vain. She was quoted saying once before, "I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best."
Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait with Loose Hair, 1947 #womensart
She Was A Representation Of An "Unapologetic Woman"
She married Diego Rivera against her parents wishes. She drank like a man. She smoked. She created pieces of work that were feminist and controversial. Her marriage wasn't perfect, and suffered a lot of affairs and heartache, but she kept going - even when Diego cheated on her with her sister. She only countered this with art, as well as committing her own infidelities. Now, some would believe that's not something you should celebrate, but it does happen - facts of life.
Memory (The Heart) ~ Frida Kahlo
She Wore Her Heart On Her Sleeve... Er... And Her Paintings
It was no secret that Frida had some sort of twisted depression thing going, especially with her husband, who she married, divorced, cheated on, etc. When she and Diego divorced the first time, she created a self portrait called The Two Fridas, which is one of her most famous to date. One has a damaged heart, and one looks seemingly fine. Many artist's interpretations of this piece is that it represented her two sides, one that was broken and unloved, and one that was happy and loved. Of course, they remarried after this, but seemed to more so participate in an open relationship after that.
The Two Fridas @GrandPalaisRmn ! . . #fridakahlo #frida #art #europeanart #famousart #artists #artgallery #drama #paris
She Also Seemed To Invent The Whole "Chopping Off Your Hair After A Broken Relationship" Fad
Another self portrait created after her divorce, this was the least feminine. She was wearing a suit, which looked a lot like her ex-husbands, Diego Rivera, and she was holding a pair of scissors, with her hair sprawled on the floor. The translation to the lyrics above her head say according to FridaKahlo.org, "See, if I loved you, it was for your hair, now you're bald, I don't love you any more." The site notes that the self portrait showed her desire to be independent and not wanting to rely on a man.
FridaKhalo 'Self Portrait With Cropped Hair' 1940 #painting
In conclusion to some of those facts, it's safe to say that people find the dark and mysterious intriguing. And even though many of the chronicles of Frida Kahlo's life have been documented, one can't truly know what was going on in her mind. It's still unknown exactly how she died, even though it is described she died from health complications, many believe that she may have taken her own life.
As with many artists, her work is more celebrated now in her death, than in the time she was alive.
Amy Cooper is the type of journalist that when asked "What do you bring to the table," she replies "I am the table.