Renowned Art
Frida Kahlo Gallery     Prints.     Full biography.
Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)
Kahlo was born in Coyoacan, a suburb of Mexico City. She was afflicted with polio that stunted the growth of her right leg and in 1925, a bus accident drove, a piece of iron into her pelvis and back. In 1929 she married the then 42 year old world-renowned Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. She suffered numerous miscarriages that caused her great grief. Her dramatic work consisted primarily of self-portraits, reflections of her personal history, her relationship with Diego Rivera; her damaged physical condition, her philosophy of nature and life, and her individual and mythological worldview. In the 1940s she taught art, and her students became known as Los Fridos.
Monkey
Cropped Hair
1926
Diego Rivera
1940
Love Embrace
Roots

Viewer

Self-Portrait with Monkey 1938
Oil on masonite, 16 x 12"

Kahlo preferred dressing in native Mexican costume and paid great attention to her hair and make-up even when gravely ill. The numerous self-portraits she created range in mood from violent (i.e. showing herself as a deer shot through with arrows or a woman ripped open from neck to navel and covered with nails), to heart-rending (showing herself naked and bleeding profusely from complications of childbirth), to more serene images such as the Gallery's Self-Portrait with Monkey.

In Self-Portrait with Monkey, Kahlo's signature icon—her joined eyebrows—is emphasized. She chose a monkey as her companion because she admired its childlike and playful nature. The apparently naïve (unschooled) drawing, bright and bizarre colors, and dramatic and fantastical images reflect her inspiration in native Mexican art.
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