20 Facts About The Tumultuous and Painful Life Of The Artist Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo has gained attention across all corners of the globe for her artistry and work. Perhaps one of the greatest influences and well-known facts about her artistic narrative are the pain and perseverance of her life. Getting to truly know and understand Kahlo’s work is to understand her story.
Check out these 20 facts about Frida Kahlo, her life and her work.
1. Her name wasn’t actually Frida.filmatic / Instagram
The artist you know as Frida today was actually given the name Frieda. In 1907 Frida Kahlo was born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón. Her name, Frieda, came from the German word for “peace,” Friede. She dropped the e from her name sometime in 1935 and has since been known as Frida.
2. She knew how to make an entrance at her art shows even when she was sick.filmatic / Instagram
During the last years of her life, Kahlo found herself sick and suffering. Still, she didn’t let this hold her back. painter was sick but she refused to allow this to keep her from celebrating her accomplishments. In 1953, she earned her first solo exhibition in Mexico and took an ambulance from the hospital to see it.
3. She loved to paint herself.filmatic / Instagram
Approximately one-third of Kalos paintings were of herself. In her lifetime she painted fifty-five self-portraits that included references to Mexicanidad as well as her health and personal life and relationships.
4. She was a communist and supporter of Stalin.filmatic / Instagram
It’s the not so flowery side of the feminist icon we know today but it’s true. In 1928 Kahlo became an official card-carrying member of the Communist Party of Mexico. In 1954 the artist painted a portrait of Stalin with herself beside him called Frida and Stalin this was despite her awareness that he had killed approximately 3 million to 9 million people during his reign.
5. Her house is a museum that you can visit.filmatic / Instagram
Kahlo grew up in a blue house called Casa Azul that she and Deigo moved into when they were married. Today it is known as The Frida Kahlo Museum.
8. She wanted to be a doctor.filmatic / Instagram
After contracting polio as a child Kahlo became interested in medicine. Sadly her injuries from the bus accident forced her to abandon any plans she had of studying medicine.
6. A severe and tragic accident changed her life.filmatic / Instagram
Kahlo had planned on being a doctor, but when she was 18 she was involved in a severe bus accident. During her ride on a bus with her boyfriend Alex Gómez Arias her ride hit a train and she was thrown from her seat and a handrail ripped into her back.
7. She became an artist after the accident.
filmatic/ InstagramThe bus accident severely damaged Kahlo’s spine, ribs, pelvis legs and collarbone. The severe injuries would plague her for the rest of her life and often render her to bed. These times in which she was in severe pain and left to bed she would paint. 9. She had poor health her whole life which affected her heart
8. She had 30 surgeries to correct her body and pain.HarvardLibrary / Twitter
Kahlo once endured a foot amputation and had multiple surgeries on her spine. She referenced her pain and suffering in paintings like “Without Hope” and “The Broken Column.”
10. Frida’s accident got her paintingfilmatic / Instagram
One could say creativity runs through her veins. Her father was a painter, and after her accident, he gave her supplies to paint and create her work.
11. She was married to the famous artist Diego Rivera.michellelima1107 / Instagram
The two had a tumultuous relationship from the start that was rife with affairs and arguments.
12. There was a twenty year age difference between Kahlo and Rivera.bamedina / Instagram
The two met when Kahlo was a student and he was a married father of four Their 20-year age difference didn’t stop each other from falling in love. They married and divorced 10 years later only to remarry again.
12. She never had children and that was a massive heartache for her.coctail.nu / Instagram
Kahlo deeply wanted to have a child with Diego but damage to her uterus from the bus accident in her teens meant that she would never become a mother. While she did have multiple pregnancies she never carried any of them to term. One painting “Henry Ford Hospital” which was created in 1932 showed the pain she felt over her miscarriages.
13. Girl got laid. And by some A-Listers.guzelseylerrehberi / Instagram
Kahlo might have had a tragic and painful life but she didn’t allow that to keep her from living her life to its fullest when she could. She loved to socialize and spent a lot of time partying across the globe. During her time in Paris she had an affair with Josephine Baker.
14. She was all about her Mexicanidad.iaumdt / Instagram
Kahlo became a huge traveler in her life. She spent time across the United States and years in Europe but it was her life in Mexico City that she loved most. It’s where she eventually died.
15. She was an animal girl.damejaxx / Instagram
Kahlo kept a home fileld with monkeys, birds and Xoloitzcuintli.
16. She’s a feminist icon.neongreece / Twitter
In the 1970s, after her death, the feminist movement sparked interest in her artistry and message.
17. She had a love for fashion.fridakahlolovers / Instagram
It wasn’t always the kind you’d see on the cover of Vogue, but Kahlo’s love for her culture came through in her clothing. She often wore the native clothing of her people and during her life was featured in Vogue Paris.
18. She was a record breaker.fridakahlolovers / Instagram
In May 11, 2016, her 1939 painting “Dos desnudos en el bosque (La tierra misma)” sold for over $8 million. The price was the highest paid ammount for any Latin artist ever.
19. Her husband cheated on her with her younger sister Cristina.“Frida 2.” Digital Image. Bustle. 6 July 2018.
It almost ruined her relationship.
20. She was bisexual and slept with men and women.GiuseppeTurrisi / Twitter
Including French dancer/singer/actress Josephine Baker and Leon Trotsky. Although Rivera was okay with Kahlo’s affairs with other women, he was jealous of the men she slept with.
21. She was born in and died in the same house.toadstool_house / Twitter
Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907 “La Casa Azul.” She died their 47 years later.
22. She lied about her age but not for vanity’s sake.fridakahlolovers / Instagram
Kahlo wanted to pair her birth date up with the start of the Mexican revolution so said she was born on July 7th, 1910 a day and three years after her birth.
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