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Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter best known for her self-portraits. During her career, she painted 143 works of art of which 55 were self-portraits. Among her famous works are Roots, Without Hope, and The Two Fridas, all reflecting her life experiences and struggles.
See the fact file below for more information on the Frida Kahlo or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Frida Kahlo worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Personal Life and Interests
- Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón was born on July 6, 1907, in Coyoacan, Mexico. Her parents were Guillermo Kahlo, a painter born in Germany, and Matilde Calderon y González, a native of Oaxaca.
- When she was six, young Frida contracted polio, which left her bedridden for long months. In order to help with her recovery, Frida became active in sports like soccer, wrestling and swimming, but the disease had damaged her right leg and foot.
- In 1922, Frida became one of a few female students to attend school. She enrolled at National Preparatory School and became known as a girl who loved colorful clothes. While in school, she was politically active and joined the Young Communist League and the Mexican Communist Party.
- In 1925, Frida was involved in a bus accident, which totally changed her life. Her pelvis and spine were badly damaged and consequently underwent 35 surgeries during her lifetime.
- Kahlo married Diego Rivera, a famed Mexican artist in 1929. In 1930 they moved to San Francisco, California, and later to New York and Detroit, dependent on Rivera’s shows and commitments. By 1933, the couple moved back to San Angel, Mexico, after a Rivera’s controversial mural commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller caused a scandal. Rivera painted a portrait of Vladimir Lenin, a communist leader and refused to change it.
- In 1937, Kahlo and Rivera helped a Soviet communist, Leon Trotsky, by having him live with them at the Blue House. Depressed with her husband’s infidelity, Kahlo and Trotsky were believed to have had a brief affair.
- In 1939, they divorced but remarried after a year. They lived separate lives and were involved with different people over the years.
Frida Kahlo’s Artistic Career
- A month after her divorce from Rivera, Kahlo cut off her long dark hair and made this self-portrait entitled, Self Portrait with Cropped Hair (1940). On the upper part of the painting are lyrics from a Mexican song that say, “Look, if I loved you it was because of your hair. Now that you are without hair, I don’t love you anymore.”
- In 1938, Kahlo held her first major exhibition in New York. About half of her 25 paintings on display were sold. As a result of the show, she was commissioned by a well-known magazine. After a year, she went to Paris for an exhibition and befriended contemporary artists like Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso.
- By 1941, she was commissioned by the Mexican government to do five portraits of Mexican women but she was unable to finish them because of personal struggles.
- Her first solo exhibition in Mexico happened in 1953. She attended the opening via an ambulance. Even though she was bedridden at the time, Kahlo still managed to talk and celebrate with the attendees.
- Among her famous works are A Few Small Nips (1935), Family Tree (1936), The Suicide of Dorothy Hale (1938), Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird (1940), Roots (1943), The Broken Column (1944), Without Hope (1945), The Wounded Deer (1946) and The Two Fridas (1939).
- The Two Fridas was a double self-portrait created at the time of her divorce from Diego Rivera. Notice that Frida (left) was wearing a European dress while Frida (right) was dressed in traditional Mexican attire. Today, it is known as one of her largest and most famous works.
Later Life, Legacy and Death
- Like many unique artists, Frida Kahlo gained prominence after her death. Although she had enjoyed some success while alive, much of this was because of her marriage to a famous male artist.
- Years before her death, Kahlo experienced diminishing health. Her right leg was amputated below the knee and it was recorded that she attempted suicide many times. Despite her illness, she continued to paint and support political activism.
- On July 26, 1954, at age 47, Frida Kahlo died at her Blue House. Despite speculations of suicide, Kahlo’s official cause of death was a pulmonary embolism.
- Her paintings are well known for their symbolism and parallelism with her own struggles. In 2006, Roots (1943) was sold for $5.6 million and became the highest-selling painting of a Latin American artist in an auction.
- In 2002, an American biopic film entitled Frida was released depicting the life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Frida was portrayed by actress Salma Hayek who received an Academy Award nomination for her performance. Moreover, the film received positive reviews and six nominations bagging two for best makeup and original score.
Frida Kahlo Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Frida Kahlo across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Frida Kahlo worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Frida Kahlo who was a Mexican painter best known for her self-portraits. During her career, she painted 143 works of art of which 55 were self-portraits. Among her famous works are Roots, Without Hope, and The Two Fridas, all reflecting her life experiences and struggles.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Frida Kahlo Facts
- Life of Frida
- Artist Timeline
- About Frida
- Obra Maestra
- A or B
- Frida Word Search
- Frida and Feminism
- Emotions in Self-Portrait
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Link will appear as Frida Kahlo Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 11, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
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