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 Cropped Hair. 1940. Oil on canvas, 15 3/4 x 11" (40 x 27.9 cm).
Gift of Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. The Museum of Modern Art.

Kahlo painted Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair shortly after she divorced her unfaithful husband, the artist Diego Rivera. As a painter of many self- portraits, she had often shown herself wearing a Mexican woman's traditional dresses and flowing hair; now, in renunciation of Rivera, she painted herself short haired and in a man's shirt, shoes, and oversized suit (presumably her former husband's).

Kahlo knew adventurous European and American art, and her own work was embraced by the Surrealists, whose leader, André Breton, described it as "a ribbon around a bomb." But her stylistic inspirations were chiefly Mexican, especially nineteenth-century religious painting, and she would say, "I do not know if my paintings are Surrealist or not, but I do know that they are the most frank expression of myself." The queasily animate locks of fresh-cut hair in this painting must also be linked to her feelings of estrangement from Rivera (whom she remarried the following year), and they also have the dreamlike quality of Surrealism. For, into the work she has written the lyric of a Mexican song: "Look, if I loved you it was because of your hair. Now that you are without hair, I don't love you anymore."

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