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Baby and childhood photos of Frida Kahlo, taken by her photographer father Guillermo
02:57 pm


Frida Kahlo

Age 2, circa 1909
Much of what interests us about Frida Kahlo’s art is very personal. Themes of disability, fertility, ethnicity, sex and gender, romance, love and communism pervade her work, adding to the romantic fascination that her life inspires. Less often considered are the strange and erratic circumstances of her family life—beyond, of course, the fact that her husband Diego Rivera had an affair with her sister Cristina, pictured below. 

Frida’s photographer father Guillermo, who took these pictures, was a compelling character in his own right. He was born in Germany as Carl Wilhelm Kahlo (Frida insisted he was Jewish, though evidence indicates he was actually Lutheran), but he hispanicized the “Wilhelm” to “Guillermo” upon moving to Mexico. Guillermo’s father actually footed the travel bill because his son did not get along with his stepmother. Before marrying Frida’s mother, he had two daughters with his first wife, who died giving birth to their third child. Scandalously, Guillermo asked Frida’s maternal grandfather for permission to marry his daughter the very night his first wife died, and then sent his children from the marriage to be raised in a convent, shortly after the wedding.

Despite all of this, Frida was raised in a home of relative comfort and was close to her family. Her father appears to have been very supportive of her, even allowing her to dress in men’s clothing for a family photo. Even as a baby, her face is unmistakable—right down to the strong brows.

Age 4, 1911

Age 4, 1911

Date unknown

Age 5, 1912
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Frida Kahlo’s secret revenge affair with Leon Trotsky

To get back at her much older husband for his most recent infidelity, Frida Kahlo’s odd choice of a lover was their new housemate, the even older and also married Leon Trotsky. It is a plot out of a French farce, soap opera, proper high-brow opera, or an episode of The Jerry Springer Show if he had Marxist Revolutionary Week.

The exiled 58-year-old Leon Trotsky and his second wife Natalia Sedova arrived in Tampico, Mexico on a heavily guarded Norwegian oil tanker on January 9, 1937. The muralist and dedicated Trotskyite Diego Rivera had lobbied the Mexican government to offer Trotsky political asylum. Diego, ill and hospitalized, could not be at the port to meet the Trotskys. Instead his young wife, surrealist artist Frida Kahlo, was at the dock with journalists, Communist Party members, and government officials. She accompanied the couple back to Coyoacán and the home she shared with Diego, La Casa Azul (The Blue House), where the Trotskys lived heavily protected and catered to for two years.

Still angry and hurt from discovering Diego’s affair with her beautiful younger sister Cristina, Frida lost no time in openly flirting with Trotsky, who must have been flattered as hell at the attention. That spring their emotional affair grew into a physical one. Some of Frida and Trotsky’s clandestine meetings took place at Cristina’s house, which Diego had probably bought for her, along with a suite of red leather furniture. Frida and and Trotsky spoke English in front of their spouses, whose grasp of the language was paltry to non-existent, in Natalia’s case. He sneaked love letters to Frida between the pages of books he loaned to her.

Rivera was, by all accounts, an unrepentant philanderer with the hypocritical tendency to randomly fly into jealous rage when Frida behaved similarly with other men during their stormy marriage. (Her affairs with women, like Josephine Baker, didn’t bother him.) Stephanie Mencimer wrote in Washington Monthly, “Legend has it that for American women traveling to Mexico, having sex with Rivera was considered as essential as visiting Tenochtitlan.”

Diego and Natalia eventually discovered the dalliance, which seems to have been over by July 1937. Surprisingly he allowed Trotsky to continue to live at La Casa Azul instead of coming after him with a gun. There was enough of a political falling-out between the two men, not over infidelity but over Trotskyism, to prompt the revolutionary and his wife to move out of La Casa Azul and into a nearby house on Avenida Viena in early 1939. He left behind the self-portrait she had dedicated to him, “Between the Curtains.” In the painting she is holding a document that says, “To Trotsky with great affection, I dedicate this painting November 7, 1937. Frida Kahlo, in San Angel, Mexico.” November 7th was Trotsky’s birthday as well as the Gregorian calendar anniversary of the October Revolution.

Frida and Trostky remained friends until his assassination by Ramón Mercader on Stalin’s orders the following year. She was a suspect in the murder and held by police for questioning for two days.

No passionate missives between the unlikely lovers survive. According to biographer Bertrande M. Patenaude, author of Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary, at the end of their brief relationship Trotsky asked Frida to return all his love letters so he could burn them.
Frida & Diego & Natalia & Leon: Rare home movie footage from 1938 of the two couples in Coyocoán, Mexico:

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Leave a comment
Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe now on display
07:40 am


Frida Kahlo

Kahlo with husband, Diego Rivera
Unfortunately though, not anywhere near me.

Frida Kahlo’s clothes were recently curated at her home (now a museum) in Mexico City. While Frida’s traditional dresses, which defied the modern European fashions of the time, are the obvious draw, it would be just as fascinating to see the elements of her wardrobe that functioned as a part of her disability.

The artist’s ornately decorated prosthetic leg will be on display, though I believe her beautifully-painted torso casts are in separate collections.
Frida's Cast
Plaster Corset With A Hammer And Sickle (An Unborn Baby)

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Gallery of Lost Art: A century of vanished work by the likes of Freud, Kahlo & Duchamp

It is strange to think that some the most important works of art from the past 100 years have been lost, erased, destroyed, stolen, censored, or allowed to rot, and can now no longer be seen.

The Gallery of Lost Art is a virtual exhibition that reconstructs the stories behind the disappearances of some of the world’s best known and influential works of art. It’s the biggest virtual exhibition of its kind, and is curated by Jennifer Mundy, and is produced by the Tate in association with Channel 4 television. The virtual Gallery has been beautifully designed by digital studio ISO, and the site will be kept live for 12 months, before it is lost.

Amongst those currently on exhibition at the Gallery of Lost Art are:

Lucian Freud Portrait of Francis Bacon (1952)

This small painting was stolen in at exhibition in Germany on May 27th, 1988. It is considered one of Freud’s best early works, and although there was a police investigation and a hefty reward (300,000DM) the portrait has never been recovered.
Tracey Emin: Everyone I have Ever Slept With 1963-1995

Made in 1995, when Tracey Emin was still relatively unknown, Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995 is a tent covered with the names of all the people Emin had slept with, including lovers, friends, family members and foetus 1, foetus 2. Inspired by an exhibition of Tibetan nomadic culture, which included examples of their tents, which are used by Tibetan monks for meditation, Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995 made Emin an over-night sensation and one of the most controversial artists working in Britain at that time. The work was bought by Charles Saatchi, who kept it (along with hundreds of other art works), in a warehouse in London’s east end. In 2004, a fire destroyed this warehouse and most of Saatchi’s collection - including 40 paintings by Patrick Heron.

The Gallery of Lost Art - see the exhibition here, before it is gone.
More Lost Art from Kahlo, Sutherland and Duchamp, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Frida Kahlo as Patti Smith (or vice versa?)
09:03 am


Patti Smith
Frida Kahlo

I’m not entirely sure what the Angry Lambie website (NSFW) is all about, but it sure looks like they’re big Frida Kahlo fans.

Here’s the only thing the site says regarding the manipulated images:

Frida Kahlo nudes created in Photoshop (except for the drawings which are authentic)

If you didn’t get it the first time, it’s a NSFW link

Image via The World’s Best Ever

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment