Art, Garden, Life: Re-Imagining Frida Kahlo

Most people who are confronted by seemingly insurmountable pain and catastrophe succumb to the depression, much less are able to channel their despair in a creative way. Frida Kahlo, one of the most influential and important artistic personalities of the 20th century, only began painting after she was confined to a bed for three months following a near-fatal bus crash.

Kahlo said of her paintings: “I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.” Magnetic, vibrant, sexual, but borne into a body riddled by disease, miscarriage, and a crippling accident—Kahlo managed to make her own life into a work of art. She created some of the most memorable images of our time, most of which went largely ignored for her entire life. Unaffected by her obscurity, Kahlo went on to have quite a prolific career, producing over 140 paintings.

The Broken Column (1944) Frida Kahlo, 50x70 cm
The Broken Column (1944) Frida Kahlo, 50×70 cm

Though she is most known for her critical self-portraits, Kahlo also displayed a “keen appreciation for the beauty and variety of the natural world, as evidenced by her home and garden as well as the complex use of plant imagery in her artwork.” [1] Her iconic portraits conveyed the pride she took in her Mexican heritage: small details ranging from the assortment of flowers hand-picked from her garden, traditional Mexican clothing and jewelry, or pet birds and monkeys.

Hidden behind high cobalt blue walls in a suburb of Mexico City, La Casa Azul (The Blue House) was both her place of birth and death. The house-turned-museum witnessed years of her artistry and holds collections and personal items for both herself and her painter husband Diego Rivera. Re-imagined in the South Bronx, the New York Botanical Garden has been transformed to mirror elements of Kahlo’s house for the exhibition “Frida Khalo: Art, Garden, Life.” More than a dozen of her original paintings and sketches from her family home will be on display until November 1, coupled with the conservatory setting to stress her value in and inextricable link between humans, nature, and animals.

Don’t have time for a day trip to the city? Pick up the newest copy of Frida Kahlo (Temporis Collection), a fully-illustrated and comprehensive look at her courageous road to self-discovery, or alternatively our eBook version.

[1] http://www.nybg.org/frida/

One thought on “Art, Garden, Life: Re-Imagining Frida Kahlo

  1. Reblogged this on Marianne Manzler and commented:
    It’s Frida Friday, ya’ll!!! I can’t hop on the B/D/4 train and see this exhibition, but all you NYC’ers can. Read my latest blog post for Parkstone International if you need more convincing!

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