Interested in learning more about a fascinating woman and well-known artist? My day trip to Frida Kahlo’s Blue House in Mexico City, while staying at Rancho Las Cascadas, allowed me to check off one more “must see” on my bucket list. Situated in the tree and flower-lined district of Coyoacan, Frida’s birthplace is, indeed, the deep, cobalt blue of pictures.
On entering the museum, I immediately faced a reproduction of Kahlo’s painting “Frida and Diego”; it reveals her characteristic use of vibrant color and shows the influence of the indigenous Mexican cultures on her work. Her early self-portrait, “Girl in the Red Velvet Dress”, however, reminds me of a Modigliani! Two celebrated feminist paintings, “The Caesarian Operation” and “Henry Ford Hospital”, are also in the collection and demonstrate the pain and anguish Frida suffered during several miscarriages.
While viewing the exhibits, I was reminded that many friends consider Frida’s work bizarre and surreal; her face is frequently mask-like and her naked body is often wounded by thorns or nails. Part of understanding Frida’s art is being aware that she spent months and months in bed as the result of polio and a terrible accident when she was 18. Because of these personal tragedies, she felt a deep need to express her pain through painting. I believe she succeeded.
Green Bay, Wisconsin