Frida Kahlo and her paintings
The work which Frida Kahlo created, has been coined as being traditional of the figures in Mexican culture, and has also been labeled as surrealist work. This was mainly because of the fact that her art work took a traditional image (of the female form), yet she conformed it to distort the traditional style of portraiture work. She would create features on the face which were larger than proportionate sizes, she would use distinct colors to capture emotion, and she would use descriptive, thick brush strokes, all of which stepped outside of the norm, with self portraiture work.
Frida Kahlo suffered from many illnesses in her childhood years. A traffic accident she was involved in during her teenage years, also served as a base for many of her health problems, and these ailments were described
through the work she created. As the youngest of four children, she was a survivor of polio, and did not intend on becoming an artist until an older age. At the age of 18, she was involved in the car accident, and had to
spend one year in a hospital bed, recovering from the injuries to her pelvis, collar bone, shoulder, and foot injuries. Over her lifetime, she underwent over 30 surgeries, and to help distract her from the pain and suffering,
she turned to painting.
In the paintings and self portraiture work which Frida Kahlo created, she incorporated a deliberate naivety in the art forms, and she also drew on Mexican folk art, to create the distinct form and artistic style she was known for. At the age of 22, she married Diego Rivera, who was a famous Mexican muralist, and 20 years her senior. This was a marriage that was full of turmoil, infidelity, struggles in their career paths, and a number of additional hurdles the couple overcame while married. She claims to have suffered two major accidents in her life; the car accident which injured her physically, and the marriage which injured her emotionally.
During her career, Frida Kahlo composed more than 200 pieces of art; this included paintings, sketches, and drawings, all of which were related to her personal life, and the physical and emotional turbulence which she experienced. Out of the 143 paintings which she created, a total of 55 of these were self portraits. And, when people in the art world asked why she painted so many self portraits, her response was that she was often alone, and was the subject which she knew best.
In 1953, Frida Kahlo had her first solo exhibit which presented her art work to many visitors. One observer noted that it was impossible to distinguish her personal life from her work, and that her art served as a biography of her life. Due to poor health at the time, Frida's doctor told her she would not be able to attend, due to the fact that he wanted her to remain under bed rest. But, she insisted on being at the opening, and was transported in her bed by ambulance, and was carried in to the exhibit, to meet the greeting public who was present.
Both Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego were active members in the Mexican Communist party; in 1954 she attended her last rally, and soon after, on July 17 of the same year, passed away at the age of 47. The day following her death, mourners of the famous artist's work gathered at the crematorium, to witness her cremation. Her ashes were eventually placed at the "Blue House" which she shared with her husband. One year following her death, Diego Rivera gave the home to the Mexican government, to serve as a museum where visitors and her fans could pay tribute to the work she created, and to her short lived life.
After her death, the popularity of the portraiture work she had created during her career, became extremely desirable pieces of art for collectors. Today, over a half century after her death, the art work which she created, brings in a higher value than any other female artist has ever earned. And, many of the works which she created, have been replicated in print, to sell to collectors, and to be displayed in museums and art exhibits.
Her home, which was passed over to the Mexican government, is now known as the Museo Frida Kahlo (the museum of Frida Kahlo). Visitors can see all of her personal effects which are left behind in the home, and the urn which carries her ashes are also on display in the home. Many of the pieces that are still in the home, seem to have been left the way they were when the couple lived in the home, and visitors describe it as being with her, and feeling her presence, when visiting the museum.
Although Frida had a very short, and troubling life, she was able to capture a magnificent audience, with the art work which she created during the course of this short life. Described as her biography in art form, the self portraiture work created by her, showcases a troubled woman, and the difficult life she lived. And, today, she is still known as one of the most famous female artists in history, and sells more pieces (for more money), than any other female artist throughout history.
My painting carries with it the message of pain.”                    - Frida Kahlo