Mexican artist Frida Kahlo lived an extraordinary life which remains much celebrated today. Her work ranks amongst the finest of any Mexican artist and the extreme highs and lows of her life are captured in our extensive biography. This famous artist was born on the 6th of July, 1907 in Coyocoan, Mexico City, Mexico and was one of four sisters. Their family home has been labelled the Blue House or Casa Azul.
Frida had an exciting blend of German, Spanish and indigenous Mexican ancestry, coming directly from her parents. This mixed race background created an open minded individual whoses art style was to follow suit. She had a troubled childhood, blighted by illness. Most significantly, she contracted Polio aged 6 which impacted her growth and also left her bed-ridden for half a year. She pursued multiple sports in order to overcome some of these problems and this helped her to at least boost her confidence and become more extrovert, moving into her teens.
Kahlo joined the male-dominated National Preparatory School in Mexico city in 1922 and set about forging a path that would later lead to international stardom. She was immediately outspoken, and her strong character marked her out from the crowd as someone who would likely do something successful, whichever field that may be in.It was around this time that Frida was involved in a serious traffic accident which left her damaged, physically, for the rest of her life. She suffered multiple injuries and required a long period of rehabilitation before she could live a relatively normal life once more.
This serious setback to Kahlo proved to be the catalyst to her new life, as she took up painting for the first time in order to reduce her frustrations at her predicament. It also kept her occupied whilst bed-bound and helped her to recover more quickly. Self-Portrait in a Velvet Dress was her first completed work and set her off on a sequence of artistic introspection which carried on throughout her life. Few artists have held such a dominance in self portraiture as Kahlo, rarely capturing other artistic styles or topics.
Diego Rivera, the famous Mexican muralist, was known to Frida from her school days and they were to re-connect later on as she sought advice on her work. This teacher-pupil relationship was to flourish into a romantic connection which later led to marriage. Frida would then travel frequently in order to accompany Rivera on his work-based trips. These took in San Francisco, New York and Detroit. Whilst clearly possessing some considerable natural talent, artist Kahlo would make use of Rivera's own contacts in order to further her career, both through creative ideas and promotional opportunities.