Frida Kahlo Facts
Born as: "Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón"
Kahlo was born on: 6th of July, 1907
Born at: Coyoacán, Mexico
Kahlo Died: 13th of July, 1954
Frida Kahlo is one of Mexico's most famous artists.
Well known for her self portraits emphasizing her
inner struggles, Kahlo managed to gain fame with
both her artwork and her public persona before her
death in 1954.
Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907 as Magdalena Carmen
Frida Kahlo y Calderon in Coyoacan, Mexico to
Guillermo Kahlo and Henriette Kaufmann. Her father
was of German descent, having changed his name
from Wilhelm to the Spanish equivalent, Guillermo,
upon his arrival to Mexico in 1891. Frida later
acknowledged her German heritage during World
War II by spelling her name as Frieda, the German
equivalent to Frida.
two older older sister and one younger, Frida
grew up in a home filled with feminism, despite
the unhappy marriage between her parents. At the
age of six, Frida contracted polio. Although she
recovered from the disease, it left her right
leg obviously thinner than her left. Later in
life Frida would wear long skirts to cover the
Kahlo attended local schools and, at the age of
15, was enrolled in Preparatoria, a primary school.
During this time and throughout her childhood,
Kahlo witnessed the Mexican Revolution evolve
around her. It was so close, in fact, that she
remembered the gunfire and revolutionaries hopping
into her yard to take cover. She also witnessed
extraordinary violence, much of which stayed with
her throughout her life.
September 17, 1925, Kahlo was involved in a serious
bus accident and suffered several injuries including
a broken collarbone, broken spinal column, broken
rigs, a broken pelvis, and eleven fractures in
her right leg. A metal handrail also impaled her,
damaging her reproductive capabilities. Although
she fully recovered her ability to move and function,
Kahlo was plagued by pain for much of her life.
she originally wanted to study medicine, the accident
left Kahlo with a new desire to study art. While
in recovery, Kahlo began painting full time in
order to focus her attention away from her pain.
She began painting self portraits due to the solitary
state of her recovery and constant immobilization.
Her paintings began reflecting more than her outside
appearance and she wanted them to represent her
inner conflicts as much as they represented her
an artist, Kahlo admired and respected local muralist
Diego Rivera and solicited advice on art. They
fell in love as a result of their correspondence
and married in 1929 to the disapproval of Kahlo's
mother. They were nicknamed "the Elephant
and the Dove" due Rivera's large size in
comparison to Kahlo's petite figure.
Frida Kahlo is well known as a famous artist,
she and her husband were also notorious for their
troubled marriage and extramarital affairs. Kahlo
had affairs with both men and women and, although
Rivera was tolerant of her affairs within her
same sex, he was jealous of her relations with
other men. Rivera, for his part, had an affair
with Kahlo's younger sister, Cristina. Kahlo and
Rivera divorced in 1940 but remarried later that
same year. Their second marriage was no less tumultuous
than the first.
and Rivera travelled to the United States for
exhibitions of her work in Detroit, New York,
and later in Paris. The couple eventually returned
to Mexico to settle down and continue painting.
was during this time that Kahlo and her husband
housed Leon Trotsky and his wife as they fled
from Stalin's regime in the Soviet Union. It became
known after some time that Kahlo had an affair
with Trotsky and the man and his wife eventually
Kahlo died from a pulmanry embolism on July 13,
1954, having spent the last year battling various
illnesses and physical problems (including the
amputation of her right leg). During her life
Kahlo painted 143 paintings, including fifty-five
self portraits. Her works are well known for their
symbolic realism and her ability to incorporate
traditional Mexican styles into her work.
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