Are you a fan of Frida Kahlo? If so, you’ll love learning more about the famous Mexican artist. Here are some interesting Frida Kahlo facts about her life and work that you may not know. Enjoy getting to know her!
She didn’t always want to be an artist
Frida’s father, Wilhelm, was a German photographer who moved to Mexico in 1891. There he met and married Matilde from a Spanish-American Indian background which gave rise to Frida’s love for culture at an early age. Her mother provided a strict upbringing that she later described as “kind, active and intelligent, but also calculating, cruel and fanatically religious”.
She spent days assisting her father out in his photography studio where as a budding artist she developed interest working with arts objects.
She embraced both old world traditional paintings and copper pots while learning about their history through vivid descriptions by her parents stories. She did, however, have an interest in biology and thought that one day she might become a doctor.
Moving to Europe
Some additional Frida Kahlo facts are that when she was just 16, Frida’s father, Wilhelm, moved the family to Berlin. It is believed that he wanted his daughter away from Mexico where some suggest poverty may have been an issue for the family both emotionally and financially .
Frida’s mother, Matilde, became increasingly religious over time- something that deeply concerned Wilhem.
He tried hard to give his daughter an education outside of church walls so she could learn other perspectives on life while still having a religious background.
However, ultimately an unhappy situation developed between himself and Matilde. Due to the move and the other factors it eventually let to their divorce and Wilhelm ended up leaving the family.
When Frida’s mother died, she refused to see her body. But when her father died she went into a deep depression that threatened to make her suicidal.
Why Did Frida Kahlo get polio?
Polio epidemics were still relatively common in the early 1900s. When Frida was six, she caught the poliovirus which caused her left leg to become thinner and shorter than her right one.
This disability was something that would stay with her for life and caused her pain. Later in life, one of Frida’s trademarks became her wearing of long colourful skirts– but this was something she started doing to hide her disabled leg.
But despite all this adversity imposed on an innocent little girl through no fault of her own, her Dad ensured that his daughter maintained hope. He too, suffered from illness and she helped him through difficult health bouts. Between the two of them they tried to encourage and support each other through their various health woes.
Her dad was a strong personality and he pushed his daughter to play sports, even though it was considered “unsuitable” for girls at the time, which helped her get back in shape.
What Was the Accident Frida Kahlo had?
When Frida was 18, she had just started traveling with her boyfriend on a wooden bus when it collided with another streetcar. She barely survived the crash but an iron handrail went through one side of her body before coming out the other side – this is how severe her injuries were!
Although Frida did eventually recover from the accident, she had over 35 surgeries in her lifetime to help fix the damage. These injuries left their mark and caused spinal Cord damage and broken bones that caused chronic pain for the rest of her life.
Frida Kahlo Facts: What was Frida Kahlo’s art style?
Frida painted her own disability mostly and her wounds. Kahlo said:
“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”
The raw, emotional self-portraits that Kahlo painted throughout her life showed both physical and psychological wounds from her accident with themes such as pain or disability. Her most famous painting is “The Broken Column” which shows the shattered spine looking like an earthquake fissure in its intensity to reflect how she felt about herself.
The painting of Frida’s, “Without Hope” shows a time when she had lost her appetite and was force-fed fattening purée every two hours.
She also suffered miscarriages that were probably caused by her accident. She was unable to carry a baby to term and suffered greatly from these losses.
Frida Kahlo’s husband was a famous Mexican artist
Diego Marroquin, a Mexican artist and sculptor ,had been married twice before he met 20-year old Frida Kahlo during their time at university.
The pair soon became lovers which led to Diego leaving his second wife for the young art student.
Not only did they share an instant chemistry but also vast differences in size – she being just 5’2″ while he stood over 6 feet tall!
Many people referred them as “the elephant Dove” due do her small frame coupled by his large stature; however others saw it differently noting how much alike these two artists were despite such apparent size differences.
Diego and Frida’s marriage was stormy, with both having multiple affairs. In fact she had a affair during the first ten years of her wedding! But that wasn’t even close to being the worst thing he did – Diego went behind his wife’s back and slept with one of her sisters!
The two divorced in 1939 but remarried again just 1 year later…they stayed together until her death although things were not necessarily any better than before.
Her home is now a Museum
The artist was born in this home and it became a museum after her death. Each room is organized by theme; one room houses pieces by Kahlo as well other artists including Paul Klee, Jose Maria Velasco & Celia Calderon Orozco.
The Casa Azul (known also formerly called The Blue House) was turned into an art gallery to display paintings from different periods of time throughout centuries-old history.
She came to her first art exhibition in an ambulance
Frida was never one to sit around and wait for things, so when her health began deteriorating in 1953 (and despite being confined mostly into chairs or crutches), she didn’t let it get in the way of her art. Instead – with paintbrush still firmly planted on canvas-she had her very first solo art exhibition. In this way she proved that even artistically paralyzed people can still make their mark on the world!
She arrived at the art gallery in an ambulance, and ordered that she be brought to a bed. She then made sure everyone knew how important it was for her not only to show up but also to stay all of the opening night!
Frida Kahlo died at 47 years old
In her last days, Kahlo was mostly bedridden with bronchopneumonia. Even so, she attended and spoke at a demonstration against the CIA invasion of Guatemala.
After though, her illness worsened and caused her to be in extreme pain which led to hospitalization on October 17th, 1953.
It was determined that Frida suffered from infections related directly caused by diabetes as well as other ailments such as joints problems due to gangrene. One leg was amputated above the knee because there were too many tumors pressing upon major blood vessels.
When she died in 1954, at age 47, Frida had been suffering from pulmonary embolism for some time. However it’s possible that this illness may have led to suicide or overdose since right before fading away altogether she wrote “I hope the exit will be joyful and I won’t return ever again.”
She only became famous after her death
Kahlo’s work during her lifetime was often dismissed as being that of “the wife” to Diego Rivera. It wasn’t until several years after she died that people started paying attention and now Kahlo is considered one of if not THE most renowned artist in Mexican history.
Her reputation grew so much by 2021, some critics were calling it Fridamania–a word created combining ‘fri’ meaning happy or joyous with damas (women). Fridamania refers to the cultlike status and celebrity her work and life has started. She is more popular today in our modern era than ever before.
Frida Kahlo is considered a feminist
The life of Frida Kahlo is one filled with personal insight and boldness. She was a feminist, LGBTQ rebel who opened up about her sexuality (she preferred the term “bisexual”) in an era where it wasn’t seen as “normal” for women or men to be anything other than straight – let alone attribute their identity so openly into art!
Her open-mindedness has made not only herself but also Mexican culture more proud than ever before.
Frida included the history of Mexico in her art. She built cultural ideals, artistic techniques and social values that are valued by her country even into this modern age.
What do you think about these Frida Kahlo facts? Was she an important figure for Mexico?