The Life and Work of Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo stands by her painting Me Twice. Kahlo was one of many important Hispanic artists of the 20th century.

Look at the picture above. It shows a painting with two self-portraits. The artist, Frida Kahlo, is standing in front of the painting. In the self-portrait on the left, she is wearing a European-style wedding dress. In the one on the right, she is wearing traditional clothing of the Tehuana, which belongs to one of the Indigenous cultures [cultures before the arrival of Europeans] of Mexico.

Frida Kahlo was born in Mexico in 1907. Her father was German. Her mother’s ancestors were Spanish and Indigenous people [people who lived in Mexico before the arrival of Europeans]. As a child, Kahlo had a disease called polio. After she recovered, her right leg was thinner and shorter than her left leg. She had to wear special shoes. She became interested in medicine. However, as she was studying medicine, she was badly hurt in a terrible bus accident. It took her a year to recover. During that time, she taught herself to paint.

Kahlo married the muralist [someone who paints large, narrative paintings on walls or other large surfaces], Diego Rivera. Kahlo showed her work in Paris, New York City, and Mexico City. She often painted large, colorful self-portraits. Identity, and how Frida Kahlo saw herself, was one of her major themes.

Kahlo didn’t sell many paintings while during her lifetime, but people later realized what an important artist she is. Recently, one of her paintings sold for almost $35 million. Today, Kahlo is considered Mexico’s greatest artist and one of the most important artists of the 20th century. You can view her paintings in many museums in the United States and Mexico.

What Do You Think? Frida Kahlo expressed herself through painting. How do you express yourself?

Photo Credit:CSU Archives/Everett Collection Historical/Alamy Stock Photo