Frida Kahlo, a Mexican painter, was known for her richly detailed paintings, many of which featured a heavily-illustrated border, with colorful depictions of Mexican rural life. Inspired by Mexico's rich cultural heritage, she used a naive folk art style to examine questions of identity, ethnicity, gender, race, and class in Mexican society.
Mrs. KAHLO was born Frida Rivas in Mexico City and was raised on the outskirts of the city in poverty. After the death of her parents, Frida was sold off by her stepfather to the care of a female cousin who adopted Frida's last name. Frida lived with the cousin's family until her birth.
As Frida grew into adulthood, the cousin abandoned her and took Frida along as part of a group of women escaping from Mexico City. The group spent most of its time in the San Diego area before being relocated to Cuba.
Mrs. KAHLO became an artist and traveled throughout Mexico, returning to Mexico City where she lived until she died in 1968 at the age of thirty-two.
Throughout her life, Frida Kahlo produced a wide range of paintings that featured many elements of folk art. Some of the subjects were women, others were Mexican countryside, while others represented Mexican towns. Her most famous work, “The House of the Scorpion,” was one of the few works of hers in which she attempted to draw a realistic and believable depiction of a rural Mexican home. Other paintings included those that portrayed an indigenous American Indian in Native dress, Mexican people in various Mexican traditional costumes, and rural Mexico's capital city, Mexico City itself.
One of Frida KAHLO's best-known paintings is the painting “Portrait of My Sister,” which depicts her sister María Guadalupe García in an intricate Native dress. The painting also features scenes of Mexico City and the Mexican countryside in addition to Mexican art and culture.
Frida Kahlo began her career as an illustrator but her greatest achievements in the field of painting came from her use of oil paint as well as watercolors. She worked closely with a group of Mexican painters who formed the group called “La Gaceta del Rincón” or The Mexican Art Collective. The group was inspired by Frida's painting “Portrait of My Sister.” Other artists included Fray Juan and Francisco Goya.
Frida KAHLO is known to have been in some of the most turbulent relationships in art history. While she was an avid political activist and supported the Mexican Revolution, she was also at one time a very popular painter who painted a large portrait of her husband, Diego Rivera. In a letter to Diego Rivera written during his time in prison, she expressed her admiration and respect for him. She also asked that his painting be placed in the Museum of Modern Art, New York City.
Frida KAHLO was known to have become a devoted follower of Salvador Dali's life and work, which is why she was often depicted wearing a large yellow sunflower on her shoulder. She also considered herself a mystic and was rumored to have had mystical powers. She is often referred to as the “Queen of Modern Art.”
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