Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907, in Mexico City. Kahlo is regarded as one of Mexico’s greatest artists of all time. Her works include famous self-portraits like “Self-Portrait With Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird” in 1940 and “Two Fridas” in 1939. In her honor, Kahlo has a biography film titled “Frida,” which was released in 2002 and won two Academy Awards. She was a phenomenal painter who, despite all the challenges she faced in life, stood firm and overcame. Join us as we celebrate this iconic woman!
Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón
July 6, 1907
July 13, 1954 (age 47)
Magdalene Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderon, also known as Frida Kahlo, was a Mexican painter whose works were inspired by Mexico’s folk culture, nature, and artifacts. She is recognized as one of Mexico’s greatest artists. Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907, in Mexico. She was of German and Mestiza descent as her father, Guillermo Kahlo, was German while her mother, Matilde Calderon y Gonzalez, was Mestiza. Her family home in Coyoacan is now open to the public as the Frida Kahlo Museum. Kahlo contracted polio as a child and was bedridden for nine months.
After recovering from polio, Kahlo’s legs were disfigured, which caused her to limp. She fancied art from an early age and got an art instructor, Fernando Fernadez. She worked as a paid engraving apprentice for him, and he was very impressed by her talent. At 18, she had a ghastly bus accident which made her bedridden for three months. Staying in bed propelled Kahlo to paint and draw portraits of herself, her school friends, and her sisters.
Kahlo moved to San Francisco in the United States in 1930 and was introduced to American artists like Nickolas Muray, Edward Weston, and Ralph Stackpole. In 1931, she made a double portrait of her wedding photograph named “Frieda and Diego Rivera.” She moved to Detroit with her husband, Diego Rivera, and developed her art skills by experimenting with techniques like frescos and etching. In 1932, she painted “Henry Ford Hospital,” “My Birth,” and “Self-portrait on the Border of Mexico and the United States.” Although these never made it to the exhibitions in Detroit, she was interviewed by U.S newspapers. In 1934, she returned to Mexico and continued painting. Her works like “My Nurse and I” and “Four Inhabitants of Mexico” were exhibited at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 1938. Edward G. Robinson purchased four of her paintings at $200 per one. She earned more recognition from Andre Breton, a French Surrealist. She faced several challenges, but her works were still featured in Boston in 1941 at the Institute of Contemporary Art. In 1942, Kahlo became a founding member of Seminario de Cultura Mexicana to spread the good news about Mexican culture. She received a 5000-peso prize for one of her paintings, “Moses.” She was able to gain recognition as an artist not only in Mexico but also in the United States. In 1954, she had her last paintings, “Marxism Will Give Health to the Sick” and “Frida and Stalin.” After Kahlo passed away, her painting, “The Tree of Hope Stands Firm,” was sold for $19 000. Her fame as an artist grew tremendously after she died, and she was recognized as one of the greatest Mexican artists of the 21st Century. She became the first Latin-American painter to sell over one million dollars in artwork as her painting, “Diego and I,” was auctioned in 2006. In 2016, “Two Lovers in a Forest” sold for over eight million dollars. In 2014, Rainbow Honor Walk honored Kahlo as one of the inaugural honourees.
Kahlo lived a fulfilled life, although she had several health challenges up until her death on July 13, 1954. She married Diego Rivera, who was 20 years older than her, in 1929, divorced him in 1939, and remarried him in 1940. Kahlo was not able to have children because of the bus accident. Despite being bedridden for a while due to certain circumstances and mishaps, she found satisfaction in making paintings. Part of her leg was amputated to stop gangrene from spreading in her right foot. Her fame grew after her death. In 1983, “A Biography of Frida Kahlo” was published by Hayden Herrera, and in 2002, a movie titled “Firda” was released and nominated for six Academy Awards. It won Best Makeup and Original Score.
A tragic bus accident leaves Frida Kahlo bedridden for months propelling her to start painting.
"The Frame" becomes the first painting by a 20th-century Mexican artist to be purchased by an international museum.
Hayden Herrera writes a book detailing Kahlo's life and art.
A biographical film about Kahlo grosses over $50 million and wins two Oscars.
An image by Nickolas Muray featuring her in an iconic Mexican shawl and skirt capturing her creativity and cultural heritage appears on the cover of “Vogue” magazine.
Why We Love Frida Kahlo
Kahlo was inspirational
We see Frida Kahlo beyond her disabilities as she effortlessly stood out as a source of inspiration for artists. She was a confident woman who was a source of strength for many.
Kahlo was an active politician
She joined the Mexican Communist party to offer her contributions as a Mexican nationalist. Kahlo was a determined feminist and activist who fought for women's rights and sought to be the voice for women who were oppressed.
She was proud of her culture
Kahlo was an authentic Mexican at heart and this is reflected in her paintings and mode of dressing. She never for once lost touch with her roots. We are in love with her fierce loyalty!
5 Surprising Facts
She features on Mexico’s currency
The 500 Mexican Peso bill has two portraits on each side of Frida Kahlo and her husband, Diego Rivera.
She loved both men and women
Kahlo was bisexual as she had affairs with both men and women alike.
She was the queen of self-portraits
She painted 55 self-portraits, exploring the subject she knows best.
She rarely smiled
Kahlo did not fancy her smile and teeth, and she displayed the same in her self-portraits.
She chose her birthday
She was born in 1907 but she often told people she was born in 1910, so it could coincide with when the Mexican revolution began.
Frida Kahlo FAQs
Did Frida Kahlo have children?
Due to the ghastly bus accident she had, she could not have children.
What was the cause of Frida Kahlo's death?
A pulmonary embolism was found to be the cause of her death.
How did Frida Kahlo change the world?
Her paintings expressed things that were intimate and personal. She became a feminist icon through her art and activism
Frida Kahlo’s birthday dates