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Frida Kahlo, The Bus

Frida Kahlo (born Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón; July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954)
was a Mexican painter. She painted using vibrant colors in a style that was influenced by indigenous
cultures of Mexico and European influences including Realism, Symbolism, and Surrealism. Many
of her works are self-portraits that symbolically articulate her own pain. Kahlo was married to
Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.

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Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), Mexican Painter.

From 1926 until her death, the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo created striking, often shocking, images that reflected her turbulent life. Kahlo was one of four daughters born to a Hungarian-Jewish father and a mother of Spanish and Mexican Indian descent, in the Mexico City suburb of Coyoacán.

She did not originally plan to become an artist. A polio survivor, at 15 Kahlo entered the premedical program at the National Preparatory School in Mexico City. However, this training ended three years later when Kahlo was gravely hurt in a bus accident. She spent over a year in bed, recovering from fractures of her back, collarbone, and ribs, as well as a shattered pelvis and shoulder and foot injuries. Despite more than 30 subsequent operations, Kahlo spent the rest of her life in constant pain, finally succumbing to related complications at age 47.


Frida by Kahlo:  A story in Self-Portraits

On the afternoon of September 17, 1925, Frida and her friend Alex was involved in a severe Bus vs. Streetcar crash, and Frida was damaged very severely. A metal rod had made a very deep abdominal wound, and her third and fourth lumbar vertebrae were fractured.

While Frida Kahlo was confined to her bed, her mother brought her a small lap easel, and Frida started to paint. She had studied art before, at the National Preparatory School, where she had met Diego Rivera when he was painting the Creation mural, but Frida had never worked on paintings before. Over her bed, Frida had a mirror so she could see herself, and this was the beginning of her focus on self portraits.


Frida was a close friend of Tina Modotti, who modelled for Diego Rivera, and through her Frida and Diego met again, and fell in love. They married August 21st, 1929.


In the fall of 1930 Frida Kahlo traveled with Diego to San Francisco, where Diego worked on murals at the Pacific Stock Exchange and the California School of Fine Arts, and in the summer of 1931 they went to New York where Diego had a major exhibition of his work. Then, in the spring of 1932, they moved to Detroit, where Diego worked on a series of murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts. At this time Frida had become pregnant, however, after the bus accident in 1925 she could not have children, and complications arose.


Never before has the extraordinary life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo been framed in relation to the full spectrum of the historical and cultural influences that shaped her.