Description of the Painting
The painting depicts Agustin Olmedo posing in a similar renaissance style as in Frida's 1926 self-portrait called Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress. The composition features a plain background. This was very different from other backgrounds in Kahlo's pieces as she was known for playing with color and creativity when composing the backgrounds of her images. However, since this was one of her earliest works, critics assume that the background was this way because Frida was yer to perfect her skills and develop her signature painting style. In the painting, Agustin Olmedo is dressed in a black suit with a white shirt only slightly featured at the collar. He also has on a black tie. He appears very well put together and composed. Only one of his hands is featured in the painting because of his hands. He appears to be holding a piece of cloth in his hand. One of Olmedo’s eyes (the left one) appears slightly larger than the other one in the painting.
More about the Composition
Agustin Olmedo was a close friend to Frida Khalo. He was also a member of the singing group Cachauchas. The center of the painting (in the center of his jacket) sustained some damage. Frida Kahlo herself afflicted the damage. She did this after learning that Agustin Olmedo had been dabmouthing her, saying that she was not worth even a cent. She was hurt and extremely annoyed by his words and reacted by causing damage to the painting. Regardless, the painting still went on to be one of the most famous works by Frida. This is mainly because of her talent and slightly because of the story behind it.
At the start of her painting career, Frida Kahlo painted many portraits. They were mostly portraits of her close friends and members of her family. Other than the portrait of Agustin M. Olmedo, Frida also painted a picture depicting her friend Alicia Glalant. This particular portrait was composed in the same year as the portrait of Agustin M. Olmedo. She also made a portrait of her sister Cristina, and her husband, Diego Rivera.
The Portrait of Agustin Olmedo is currently located in Coyaocan, Mexico. It is also worth noting that she painted most of the portraits within the first six months of 1927. Later in her career, she would paint many self-portraits that she would dedicate to various people, including acquaintances and clients.