Frida Kahlo Facts


Frida Kahlo was born in Mexico City, in her home known as the Blue House.  She gave her birth date as July 7, 1910, but her birth certificate shows July 6, 1907.  Frida claimed to have been born in 1910, the year of the outbreak of the Mexican revolution, because she wanted her life to begin together with the modern Mexico.


At age 6, Frida was stricken with polio, which caused her right leg to appear much thinner than the other.  It was to remain that way permanently.


In 1922, Frida entered the best educational institution in Mexico, the National Preparatory School.  It was there she first encountered Diego Rivera, who had been commissioned to pain a mural in the school’s auditorium.


On September 17, 1925, Frida was involved in a serious bus accident, which left her with a broken spinal column, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a broken pelvis, and 11 fractures in her right leg.  In addition, her right foot was dislocated and crushed, and her shoulder was out of joint.  She would undergo approximately 30 operations in her lifetime.


Diego and Frida were married on August 21, 1929.  Their marriage has been called the union between an elephant and a dove, because Diego was huge and very fat, and Frida was small and slender.


In 1937, Leon Trotsky was granted political asylum in Mexico, largely due to the efforts of Diego and Frida, and lived with them for the following two years.  Frida and Leon had a brief affair, and for his birthday Frida gave him a self-portrait.


In 1946, she received a Mexican government fellowship, and in the same year an official prize on the occasion of the National Annual Exhibition.  She also took up teaching at the new experimental art school “La Esmeralda,” and, despite her unconventional methods, proved an inspiration to her students.


All over the world, people loved Frida.  When she traveled to France, she was wined and dined by Picasso, and appeared on the cover of French Vogue.


In the spring of 1953 Frida had her first one-person exhibition in Mexico.  Frida’s health was very bad at this time, and doctors told her not to attend.  Minutes after guests were allowed into the gallery, sirens were heard outside.  Frida Kahlo was being carried into her exhibition on a hospital stretcher.  The exhibition was an amazing success.


During the same year as her exhibition, Frida had to have her right leg amputated below the knee due to a gangrene infection.  This caused her to become deeply depressed and suicidal.  She attempted suicide a couple of times.  On July 3, 1954, Frida died.  Suicide is rumored.  The last words in her diary read “I hope exit is joyful and I hope never to come back.”


After her death in 1954, Kahlo was regarded as a marginal figure.  Since then, her fame has steadily risen.  In 1977, the first of her pictures was sold at an auction fetched $19,000 but by 1995 a self-portrait brought in $3.2 million, the highest sum ever for a painting made south of the border.


            Ø  Source: Frida.  Dir. Julie Taymor.  DVD.  Miramax, 2002.