Researching Famous Artists
Who is your favorite artist?
Frida Kahlo
The Amazing Frida Kahlo
By Bridgett

Frida Kahlo Self Portrait recreated by Bridgett


Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderon
July 6, 1907-July 13, 1954

  Frida Kahlo was born on July 6th, 1907, in Coyoacan, Mexico, to Guillermo Kahlo and Matilde Calderon y Gonzalez. Her fathers’ real name was Carl Wilhelm Kahlo. He was a Jewish German, son of Jakob Kahlo and Henriett Kaufmann. He had two other children from his first marriage. Because of Frida’s German heritage, she decided to spell her name like “Frida”, which means peace. Her mother Matilde Calderon y Gonzalez was a Catholic Latina. She had four kids, Frida was their third child. Frida once said that she was always surrounded by females. She attended an elementary school and joined a gang. She fell in love with a guy named Alejandro Gomez Arias.

  The Mexican Revolution began in 1910 and Frida would sometimes say that she was born that year so she could be associated with the revolution. Revolutionaries would jump over their fence to get a meal.

  Kahlo had two dangerous diseases like Polio and spinal bifida. But those diseases never stopped her attending sports like boxing. On September 17, 1925, Frida had another problem on her hands, she was in a bus and it suddenly hit a trolley car. She suffered serious injuries, including a broken spinal column, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a broken pelvis, eleven fractures in her right leg, a crushed and dislocated right foot and a dislocated shoulder.

  Although she recovered from her injuries and eventually regained her ability to walk, she was always having extreme pain for the remainder of her life.  The pain was intense and often left her going to a hospital or bedridden for months at a time. She underwent as many as thirty-five operations as a result of the accident, mainly on her back and her right leg and front foot.

  After her terrible accident, Frida could not accomplish her dream of studying medicine; instead she stared painting self-portraits.  Her mom got her a custom made easel and her dad let borrow his paints. Of her 143 paintings she painted, 55 of them were self-portraits. Many of her paintings symbolized her pain. She also used many cultural ideas in her paintings. She went to Paris and sold the first piece of artwork in the 20th century that was painted by a Mexican. Her art was also the first [20th century Mexican artist] to be purchased by an internationally renowned museum.

  As a young artist, she met painter Diego Rivera, who she asked for advice. He encouraged her and they soon began an intimate relationship. They eventually got married! Frida Kahlo’s father would call them “the elephant and the dove”.  Frida openly was bisexual and had affairs with men and women. Diego had an affair with Frida’s younger sister, Cristina. Frida and Diego’s relationship was not a good one. They divorced, but got remarried in 1940.  Frida died at the age of 47. Doctors suspect it was of a sickness or overdose.

PART II

  Frida Kahlo influenced many people like Edward Weston, Hector Garcia, Imogene Cunningham and Manuel Alvarez Bravo. Frida was not really that important as artist until the early 1980’s when the artistic movement in Mexico known as the Neomexicanismo began. I feel that Frida Kahlo was and still is an amazing artist. I can kind of relater to her, but there were so many serious things that went on in her life – like the bus accident. She inspires me in so many ways, like to follow my dreams no matter what. I think that in her lifetime as an artist she was very strong and never gave up – not even when she had pain and her leg hurt her. Today many people know about her. Her painting called The Little Deer is worth more than 200 million dollars. I will never forget about Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderon.