Frida Kahlo was an extraordinary woman, whose life was full of tragedy, love, politics, but most importantly art. Kahlo remains a unique figure in art history since she, unlike so many other female artists, developed her own style that became uniquely associated with her. Whether creating symbolist portraits of herself or surreal montages of everyday life, her works have a primitive emotional quality and an insight that is unrivaled by many of her peers, including her artist husband and mentor Diego Rivera. Kahlo's paintings are lush, sensuous masterpieces that expose the hopes and heartbreaks she experienced.
Kahlo's two dominant styles, or at least the two styles that I'm most attracted to in her work, are probably the surrealist and symbolist. This painting remains the key to her entire personality in many ways. On the one hand, you have Kahlo in the painting, accompanied by River in an infantile form, but you also have contrasting realities of light and darkness, the heavens and the earth, life and death. The colors alone are wonderful and the fluidity of the forms is quite appealing as well.
This is such a powerful, raw, emotional work detailing Kahlo's physical and emotional traumas after her miscarriage. One of the things I love about Kahlo is her bravery when it comes to dealing with strictly feminine issues such as miscarriage, infertility, and menstruation (issues that had been entirely neglected by artists both male in female before her). There's a simplicity to this work that is both distancing and relatable.
Kahlo's depictions of plantlife and of fruit often have a very subtle evocative quality designed to make us thing of certain aspects of the female anatomy. Here, she uses bright colors, transcendental imagery, and natural elements to indicate her love of nature but also of her own feminine strength.
One of Kahlo's most intimate and revealing paintings. This certainly exposes her love of her family, while also perhaps displaying her existential sadness for having been born and then not being able to give birth.
Split into two sections, this painting has so many details that it's hard to take them all in upon a first viewing. There are numerous religious and political icons, mythological figures, and depictions of people who Kahlo was associated with. This particular painting has an enigmatic quality to it that I love.
Normally, I'm not fond of still life paintings of flowers (I often find them to be ironically lifeless and dull), but I really love this piece. the textures and the colors are at once very realistic and stylized.
This is often the painting that art scholars point to when they talk about Kahlo's alleged lesbianism in her paintings. While there is undoubtedly an erotic quality to many of her paintings, I've always found this one to be more reflective of a kind of sisterly love. The two characters seem to be consoling one another in their mutual melancholy.
One of the most surreal of Kahlo's paintings and one of myfavorites as she manages to reference many of her other works of art in the reflections in the water. It makes you realize that there's more than a bathing body beneath the surface of the water, but an entire mind full of ideas and emotions and capable of all forms of expression.
A lovely painting that displays Kahlo's feelings about being torn in two culturally as her European modernity and sophistication seems to be parasitcally feeding off her traditional and modest Mexican self. A very revealing work that gives insight into Kahlo's conflicted self-perception.
This painting poetically illustrates how Kahlo externalized her emotions on the canvas. Here we see her literally opened up, her back injury represented by an exposed and fractured pillar where her spine should be, with protruding nails showing her physical discomfort as doctors poke and prod at her body. I think that her tearful eyes make this one of her greatest self-potraits
One of Kahlo's strangest and most surreal still life apintings in which we see a doll of a bride staring transfixed at a table full of fruits which have been cut open revealing their seeds. Meanwhile, a little Mexican owl perches picturesquely on the table and watches the doll. I suppose that to some extent this painting is meant to communicate the doll's innocence being destroyed by the realization of death and mortality.