Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderon, or simply Frida Kahlo, was a Mexican painter best known for intensely personal self-portraits that explore the questions of life, pain, culture, death, gender, race, identity, human body, and society in general.
On July 6, 1907, Kahlo was born to a Mexican mother of Spanish and Native American descent and a German father of Hungarian descent.
She often explored her own identity in her works by depicting such ancestry as binary opposites: mother’s indigenous Mexican on one side and father’s colonial European on the other.
She died on July 13, 1954, at the age of 47 in Coyoacán, Mexico City, Mexico – the same place where she was born – reportedly of a pulmonary embolism, although some suspected suicide.
Frida Kahlo produced just about 200 paintings throughout her life; most are portraits of herself, family, and friends. She also kept a diary filled with a lot of drawings.
Influenced by her father, a professional architectural photographer, and later on, by her husband, Kahlo painted stunningly original artworks that fused elements of fantasy, surrealism, and folklore into powerfully haunting narratives.
She sold relatively few paintings, but today many of her works can fetch a six-figure price each.
10 Early Years
Due to an episode of polio in Kahlo’s childhood, she walked with a slight limp for the rest of her life. She was incredibly close to her father and often assisted him in the studio.
Activities she did with her father in his work as a photographer became a strong influence on Kahlo’s artistic style.
During her early years, she was more interested in science than arts, although she took some drawing classes.
In 1922, Kahlo enrolled at the National Preparatory School in Mexico City and eventually studied medicine. She met her future husband Diego Rivera here.
9 Bus Accident
A bus accident in 1925 left her with a seriously injured spine and pelvis. Recovery was slow, and this was when she taught herself how to paint.
Bed rest took more or less two years until Kahlo became healthy enough to begin socializing again. She reached out to her old school friends, who were now at universities and involved in student politics.
Kahlo, later on, joined the Mexican Communist Party and reconnected with Rivera in 1928, whom she had met briefly six years earlier when he was working on a mural in her school auditorium.