The story behind the composition and its unfinished state
Frida Kahlo started composing the Portrait of Frida's Family in the 1940s and continued to work on it until she died in 1954. She consistently worked on this painting while she was in the hospital in 1950. However, when her sister Matilde passed away in 1951, Frida stopped working on the painting and started the Portrait of My Father instead. According to critics, the passing of her sister wounded her so deeply that she could not bear to make the family portrait knowing that her sister was no more. For this reason, the painting is considered one of her unfinished works because she died before fully completing it. Despite its incomplete nature, this composition is one of the most famous works by Frida Kahlo.
A description of the painting
The composition is a family tree representation. As a conventional family tree, the top of the painting features her grandparents. She painted grandparents from both her mother and father's side of the family. The center features her parents and at the bottom is Frida and her two sisters, Adriana and Matilde, standing next to her. Right below the image of her dad and next to Frida is an image of a fetus. While it is also challenging to identify what the image represents or who it is, many people assume that it may represent the Children that Frida lost due to miscarriages.
On Frida's other side is her younger sister Cristina and three other unfinished figures. Two of them have no faces, and one is mainly distorted. To a lot of people, the identity of the three figures is still a mystery. However, some people assume that two of the figures are Cristina's children, Isolda and Antonio and Isolda. On the other hand, some people stated that the two are Frida's half-sisters (from her father's former marriage), Maria Luisa and Margarita. No one knows the true identity of the unfinished figures. The third incomplete figure is also somewhat of a mystery. However, it is clear that it is an image of a small child. Many people assumed it to be an image of Frida’s older brother, who only survived a few days after his birth.
Critics, friends, and art lovers have made numerous assumptions about this composition over the years. This is because most of its characters are a mystery. Perhaps the mystery behind the images is one of the main reasons the piece is so popular.