Nickolas Muray (15 February 1892 -
2 November 1965) was a Hungarian-born American photographer and Olympic fencer.
Muray attended a graphic arts school in Budapest, where he studied lithography, photoengraving, and photography. In 1913, with the threat of war in Europe, Muray sailed to New York City.
Muray quickly became recognized as an important portrait photographer, and his subjects included most of the celebrities of New York City. In 1926, Vanity Fair sent Muray to London, Paris, and Berlin to photograph celebrities, and in 1929 hired him to photograph movie stars in Hollywood. He also did fashion and advertising work. Muray's images were published in many other publications, including Vogue, Ladies' Home Journal, and The New York Times.
Between 1920 and 1940, Nickolas Muray made over 10,000 portraits. His 1938's portrait of Frida Kaho, made while Kahlo sojourned in New York, attending her exhibit at the Julien Levy Gallery, became the best known and loved portrait made by Muray.
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
On October 13 1925 (4 weeks after Frida's accident), she wrote a letter to Alejandro Gomez Arias:"... When you come, please bring some chocolate and a Balero, the same we had on the day (of the accident) which I lost on the bus .Your friend, who is looking like a line on the landscape. Friducha
"Because of the tiny little umbrella I was very sad. Life begins tomorrow... "
Many years later, Frida talked about her accident:
"I remember it was the 17th September 1925 ... Shortly after we (Frida and Alejandro) had entered the bus, the collision happened.
First we were in another bus, but I had lost a little umbrella, and we got out to look for it, that´s why we got on that bus, which mutilated me.
The accident happened ... My first thought was for a pretty colorful Balero, which I had bought that day. I wanted to look for it in the belief that all of this would not have any consequences. "
Source: Frida Kahlo, "Now that you're leaving me, I love you more than ever,"
2007 SchirmerGraf, Munich.
For further infos about the Balero game: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cup-and-ball
#70: Frida Kahlo, Votive painting, after 1926; Licensed replica © Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2008.
Frida Kahlo’s letter, sent from Detroit in 1933 an Georgia O’Keeffe:
Was wonderful to hear your voice again. Every day since I called you and many times before months ago I wanted to write you a letter. I wrote you many, but every one seemed more stupid and empty and I torn them up. I can’t write in English all that I would like to tell, especially to you. I am sending this one because I promised it to you. I felt terrible when Sybil Brown told me that you were sick but I still don’t know what is the matter with you. Please Georgia dear if you can’t write, ask Stiegliz to do it for you and let me know how are you feeling will you? I’ll be in Detroit two more weeks. I would like to tell you every thing that happened to me since the last time we saw each other, but most of them are sad and you mustn’t know sad things now. After all I shouldn’t complain because I have been happy in many ways though. Diego is good to me, and you can’t imagine how happy he has been working on the frescoes here. I have been painting a little too and that helped. I thought of you a lot and never forget your wonderful hands and the color of your eyes. I will see you soon. I am sure that in New York I will be much happier. If you still in the hospital when I come back I will bring you flowers, but it is so difficult to find the ones I would like for you. I would be so happy if you could write me even two words.
I like you very much Georgia. Frieda