Life of Frida Kahlo

  • Childhood

    Born Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderón on July 6, 1907, in Coyoacán, Mexico. Her father, Wilhelm Kahlo—who changed his name to Guillermo Kahlo—was a German Jewish photographer; her mother, Matilde Calderon, a Catholic mestiza, or woman of mixed European and Indian ancestry. Frida was one of 5 children born into the marriage. Frida Kahlo is shown at far right, with sister Cristina and best friend Isabel Campos. The photo was taken by Frida's father, in 1919, when Frida was about 12.
  • Polio

    At age 6, Frida was struck with polio affecting the use of her right leg. Her leg grew very thin, and her foot was stunted in its growth. During her nine month convalescence, her father made sure that she regularly exercised the muscles in her leg and foot. Despite their efforts, her leg and foot remained deformed. Frida attempted to hide it by wearing pants, long skirts or two pairs of socks on her right foot. She was cruelly nicknamed "peg-leg Frida" by her childhood classmates.
  • School

    Frida commutes to Mexico City to begin classes at the National Preparatory School. Frida is one of only 35 girls to attend the prestigious school with hopes of becoming a doctor. At this point in her life she has no interest in pursuing a career as an artist.
  • Injury

    Considered one of Mexico's greatest artists, she began painting at the age of 18 after she was severely injured in a bus accident in September 1925. Her injuries included a broken spinal column, collarbone, pelvis, and more. Though she recovered from the injuries and eventually regained her ability to walk, she remained in extreme pain for the rest of her life.
  • Marriage

    While attending the National Preparatory School, Frida Kahlo met the artist Diego Rivera. On August 21, 1929, in a civil ceremony in the townhall of Coyoacán and wearing clothes borrowed from her Indian maid, Frida Kahlo married Diego Rivera. Diego was 42 years old, 6' 1" tall and 300 pounds; Frida was 22, 5'3" and just 98 pounds. Frida's mother did not approve of the union and did not attend the wedding ceremony. Frida's father was less resistant to the marriage and attended the ceremony.
  • Painting 1

    Painting 1
    This painting is called The Two Fridas. It is made with oil on canvas. This large double self portrait by Frida Kahlo was painted around the time time of her divorce with the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. Kahlo wore her heart on her sleeve when she painted, in this case almost literally. In the Frida wearing a green dress, she holds a small portrait of Diego Rivera.
  • Divorce

    Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo's divorce is finalized.
  • Remarried

    Their second marriage was as turbulent as the first. Their living quarters often were separate, although sometimes adjacent. She did not have any children with her husband. An accident she had very early in her life prevented her from ever being able to have children, though she did try several times; each one resulted in a miscarriage.
  • Painting 2

    Painting 2
    The accident left her in a great deal of pain while she recovered in a full body cast; she painted to occupy her time during her temporary state of immobilization. Her self-portraits became a dominant part of her life when she was immobile for three months after her accident. Kahlo once said, "I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best." Of her 143 paintings, 55 are self-portraits. This painting is called Me and My Parrots. It is made with oil on canvas.
  • Favorite Painting (Most Interesting)

    Favorite Painting (Most Interesting)
    This is called Tree of Hope, Stand Fast. It is made with oil on canvas. In this painting we see two Fridas; The painting is divided into two halves, one day and one night. The maimed and bleeding body is assigned to the sun, which in Aztec mythology the sun is fed by sacrificial human blood. The other Frida, looking strong and optimistic, is assigned to the moon, a symbol of womanhood. In her hand she holds the corset that she has "Hope" of casting off forever after the surgery.
  • Painting 3

    Painting 3
    This painting is called Still Life with Parrot and Fruit. It is made with oil on canvas.
  • Death

    Despite battling pain and health problems most of her life, Kahlo continued to paint and share her love of art with others until her death. She died on July 13, 1954.Since her death, Frida Kahlo has become an internationally known artist, and her work has been featured in numerous exhibits.