Frida Kahlo: A Mexican Surrealist Artist

3426 words - 14 pages

Frida Kahlo: A Mexican Surrealist Artist

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist, famous for her self-reflective, Surrealist paintings. She was born in 1907 and died from pneumonia and other complications in 1954 at the mere age of forty-seven. Frida was the daughter of Guillermo Kahlo, a Hungarian Jew and notable Mexican photographer, and Matilde Calderon, who was of Spanish and Indian descent (Taschen, 7). Although Guillermo had two daughters from a previous marriage, Frida was the first daughter to be born to he and his second wife, Matilde.

Frida's mother became pregnant again very soon after Frida's birth and was therefore unable to nurse Frida. Because of this, Frida had a wet nurse and never felt truly connected to her mother (Herrera, 14). On the other hand, Frida was extremely close with her father. In fact, her father viewed her as his favorite child (Herrera, 18). They spent a great deal of time together, during which Guillermo taught Frida how to retouch photographs. Frida also accompanied her father on many of his photo shots (Herrera, 21).

Frida contracted polio at the age of seven which consequently held her back a year in school and left her with an atrophied leg. [See http://www.cascade.net/kahlo. html] As a means of protecting herself from being made fun of for her unhealthy leg, Frida became eccentric and played mainly with boys (Herrera, 29). In fact, was a part of a group nicknamed the "Cachuchas" which consisted of seven boys and only two girls (Herrera, 31). Additionally, Frida developed an imaginary friend who was able to dance rather than limp as Frida often did. This imaginary friend became a confidant with whom Frida shared her "secret problems (Herrera, 29)."

Frida entered the National Preparatory School in 1922 with the hope of studying medicine, something very uncommon for women of her time (Tibol, 10). Her talents were quickly recognized there, and Frida was well accepted by the other students. She was dating a young man named Alejandro Gomez Arias whom she met at school (Herrera, 32). Then, on September 17, 1925, as Frida and Alejandro were traveling home from school together on the bus, the course of Frida's life changed forever (Taschen, 17). The bus they were riding in collided with a trolley car, seriously injuring Frida and many others. [See http://www.cascade.net/kahlo.html] During the accident, a metal rod punctured Frida's abdomen. In addition, her spinal column, pelvis, collarbone, right leg and foot, left shoulder and two ribs were all damaged in some way (Herrera, 34). Although Frida's body eventually healed, she suffered many illnesses, discomforts and disappointments later in life as a result. This accident is what many feel made Frida into the artist she is remembered as today.

Frida became a member of the Mexican communist Party in 1928 and remained politically active throughout her entire life. In fact, Frida identified so heavily with the Mexican Revolution that she changed the year of...

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