Photo: First exhibition organized by the Seminary of Mexican Culture and installed in the Palacio de Bellas Artes, inaugurated on 20 November 1942. Frida Kahlo and appreciate the architect José Luis Cuevas (highest) among officials INBA. (Photograph unknown)
Frida Kahlo painted „The wounded table“ (La Mesa Herida - Der verwundete Tisch)
between end 1939 and January 1940. As in December 1939 the divorce from Diego Rivera became official, she reproduced her emotional pain in this painting.
This painting was created for the International Surrealist Exhibition in the Galería de Arte Mexicano in Mexico City in January 1940.
„The wounded table“ was subsequently shown in exhibitions in USA and Europe. It disappeared in 1955 on its way to an exhibition in Moscow.
In the painting Frida is surrounded by objects which represent one aspect of her emotional situation. She looks directly at the viewer, she wears her Tehuana clothes and jewelry. Her hair are open on one side.
A deep wound, no longer bleeding, can be seen on her neck.
Frida gives to the Nayarit figure on her left side, a cup containing her last drops of blood so the Nayarit can drink it.
Painting: The wounded Table, (La Mesa Herida),1940, Oil on Canvas 122 x 244 cm, Location unknown.
Licensed replica © Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2008,
Frida Kahlo: a secret revealed. Look for more about this painting:
…. and also here:
Over 85 years ago on August 21 1929 Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera married in Coyoacan, Mexico.
She was 22 years old, Diego was 42.
It was her first marriage, his third.
Matilde Calderon, Frida’s mother, was against this marriage: not only Diego was 21 years older than Frida but he was twice divorced, atheist, communist and a known womanizer.
Capturing Frida’s small frame near Diego appearance (she was 5' 3" tall and weighed 100 lbs, he was 6' and weighed nearly 300 lbs), Frida’s mother said: this is like the wedding between a dove and an elephant.
In April 1931 while in San Francisco, Frida painted her wedding day in a double portrait: “Frieda and Diego Rivera”.
The difference in height and proportion between the couple is realistic but Frida’s feet are painted so small that she seems to float, to have no ground to stand on.
Rivera is portrayed as the artist while Frida presented herself as the small, young, pretty wife at his side. Diego eyes look directly at us from above while Frda’s looks into an empty space, lost.
This painting describes Frida’s state of mind right after her wedding, and how she felt about herself.
To make matters worse, when Frida exhibited this work in San Francisco at the exhibition: Wives of famous artists, one art journalist described the work as having any value only because it was painted by Mrs. Diego Rivera.
Photograph above: Carl Van Vechten, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera about 1932: As the restrictions on this collection expired in 1986, the Library of Congress believes this image is in the public domain.
Over the next decade, from 1929 to 1939, we observe how Frida developed from a hobby painter to the accomplished and powerful artist she became.
In December 1939 Frida and Diego divorced, re-married one year later in San Francisco in December 1940.
The relationship between Frida and Diego was complex, toxic and an example of two exceptional artists larger than life who can not stay together and can not stay apart.
Painting #27, Frida Kahlo: Frieda and Diego Rivera, 1931 Oil on canvas, 100 x 79 cm, Licensed replica: ©Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2008
60 years ago on July 13th, in the first hours of the morning when everyone was sleeping in the Blue House, Frida Kahlo died in her Casa Azul in Coyoacán, Mexico City.
It seems that shortly before her death she prepared herself to let go: a few days before Frida died she gave Diego a ring as a gift for their 25th wedding anniversary. When Diego asked why she was giving it to him so early instead of waiting for the anniversary date of August 21st, Frida replied "because I feel I am going to leave you very soon".
Six days before dying she managed to get up from her bed and write on a painting with watermelons: “Frida Kahlo, Coyoacán 1954 Mexico” and the iconic “Viva la Vida”.
This is the last painting Frida signed and this is the last message she wanted us to have: VIVA LA VIDA!
No matter how arduous and painful life can be, Frida message is a celebration of life, indeed she lived her life to the fullest, never letting the circumstances have the best of her. Once she wrote: “the meaning of life is to live”, and she just did that against all odds.
Her last entry in her diary was:
“Espero alegre la salida y espero no volver jamás",
I hope the exit is joyful and I hope never to return - Frida.
Painting left: #135: Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait with Stalin, 1954, Oil on masonite, 59 x 39 cm,
Painting right: #137: Frida Kahlo, Viva la Vida, Watermelons, 1954, Oil on masonite, 59,5 x 50,8 cm. Licensed replica by ©Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2008.
Photo taken in the Kunstmuseum Gehrke-Remund, Baden-Baden, Germany
Photo: (c) Kunstmuseum Gehrke-Remund, Germany
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera
25 years of passion of two artists larger than life Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were married from 1929 to 1939 for the first time, and a second time from 1940 till Frida Kahlo’s death in 1954.
The years together were marked by passion and pain that these two great artists felt for each other. The influence of Diego on Frida’s life is indisputable:
He influenced her paintings, her way of dressing and presenting herself as an Aztec Queen.
Frida was eventually Diego’s soul mate, but he realized it only after her death.
Frida wrote in her diary:
“Diego is the name of Love”.
Diego wrote in his autobiography:
“July 13th 1954 was the saddest day of my life. I lost forever my beloved Frida… too late I realized that my love for her was the most wonderful part of my life”.
Painting: # 27: Frieda and Diego Rivera, 1931; licensed replica: ©Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2008
The other night my boyfriend came into my bedroom through the window because my parents do not want him, but suddenly they came because they heard our noise. I dedicate this to San Ramón Nonato who made the miracle that they did not realize that my boyfriend was hiding behind the bed and believed the story that it was my cat that made the noise. Salazar Luiciana, Tamaulipas 1940
La otra noche mi novio entró a mi recamara por la ventana porque mis papás no lo quieren pero de repente ellos entraron porque escucharon nuestros ruidos. Dedico este retablito a San Ramón Nonato porque me hizo el milagro de que ellos no se dieran cuenta que mi novio estaba escondido detras de la cama y se creyeron el cuento que era mi gatito el que hizo ruidos. Luiciana Salazar, Tamaulipas 1940
Frida Kahlo &
Culture in Mexico
Ex-Voto is a Spanish word meaning “votive offering”.
"Ex-Voto" paintings are Catholic religious paintings that became very popular in the Mexican religious culture in the 19th century. They are usually small: 30 x 20 cm and painted mostly on wood or metal.
Ex-Votos are images offered to a saint or the Madonna as a thank you for an answered prayer. In most cases, the Ex-Voto is signed by the supplicant and dated, and explains why the giver is giving thanks. In many cases, they tell a very touching personal story which is why they are so fascinating. The Ex-Voto is most often left at a church altar. They are very public, yet very personal, professions of faith in God and thanks for favors received.
The most common reason for thanks is health, with many Ex-Votos dedicated after operations. Survival of accidents is another reason, but almost any subject is sufficient to justify creating one, from finding a missing farm animal to helping to find a spouse.
The tradition of votive painting was brought to the Mexico by Spanish conquerors.
At the end of the 18th century, tin plate became widely available in Mexico and thus, Mexican folk painters discovered a new surface medium for their paintings. Because tinplate was so cheap, the practice of offering votive paintings to Jesus, Mary or one’s favorite saint became very common in Mexico,
Ex-Votos are a wonderful and unique expression of Mexican culture.
"Ex-Voto" paintings include three elements:
1) a scene illustrating a tragedy or someone with a grave illness or injury;
2) a Saint or martyr that intervened to save the person, and
3) the description of the event usually at the bottom of the Ex-Voto.
Frida Kahlo and Diego Riveras had a collection of more than 1000 Ex-Votos which can be seen in the Blue House in Mexico City.
We can see the influence of the "Ex-Voto" style of painting in some of Frida's works.
Frida would often take elements from these votive paintings to create her own style of Ex-Voto in her paintings.
The Ex-Voto (Frida called it “Retablo”) Nr. 70 in the exhibition is an example of an Ex-Voto Frida bought because it resembled her own tragic bus accident of 1925, then painted her own head (with the famous uni-brow) over the Ex-Voto, and changed the name of the destination of the bus “Coyoacan”
Frida Kahlo paintings "My Birth" Nr.34, "My Nanny and I" Nr. 47 and "The Suicide of Dorothy Hale" Nr. 63 are typical examples of Frida style Ex-Voto.
Paintings left to right:
# 34: My Birth, 1932, # 47: My Nurse and I, 1937, # 63: The Suicide of Dorothy Hale, 1938-39
licensed replica: ©Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2008