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.
Frida Kahlo painted " A few small Nips" in 1935 to illustrate her feelings towards her husband affair with her sister Cristina.
The painting in essence illustrates how easily and lightly Diego mortally hurt her. In the painting the injuries are physically deadly, in Frida's case the mortal pain is emotional (“I have been murdered by life” wrote Frida in one of her letters.)
The painting also shows how this deadly pain inflicted is considered, by the perpetrator (i.e. Diego) irrelevant, not important, just “a few small nips”.
We know that Frida Kahlo often worked on her paintings over the years, adding items and always strengthening her statement. “A Few Small Nips” is an example of this development which we can follow from the photos taken between 1935 and 1948 since she kept this painting in her Blue House.
Painting: Frida Kahlo, A few small Nips, 1935; Licensed replica: ©Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2008.
Originally the painting had a normal wooden frame in brown colour and few blood spots; over time she added a small bamboo bird cage on the top left, to match exactly the white dove, which now is inside the cage. As we see from the photo and the reconstruction we made of the cage in the painting, the door of the cage is slightly open but not enough to allow the dove to fly away and be free.
This imagery of being prisoner of her love for Diego can be also found in the Painting Nr. 87: “Diego in my thoughts”.
She also planted a knife on the frame of the painting, a reminder of how much Diego hurt her.
Over the years she kept adding blood on the painting, she painted the frame in red-blood, and added blood-coloured spots on the frame as well.
She also stabbed and damaged the frame with the knife; every knife mark was a reminder of the pain Diego inflicted her with his “irrelevant” affairs.
The painting “A few small Nips” must be shown in its completeness, as Frida had it in display in her studio: with the cage and the knife, to be able to understand the full meaning Frida gave this painting.
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.
Where can the original paintings of Frida Kahlo be seen ?
47 originals can be seen in museums around the world, 11 of them are in museums in the US.
34 originals are in Mexico, the largest collection of Frida Kahlo paintings is in the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Mexico City.
According to the NY Times, Ms. Olmedo “said that she bought her 25 Kahlo paintings -- for which she paid only $1,600 -- because Rivera begged her to do so to make sure that an important part of his wife's work remained in Mexico under one roof. ''Otherwise I would not have done it,'' Mrs. Olmedo said.” (1), and she added ''I was never a friend of Frida Kahlo,'' Mrs. Olmedo conceded in an interview with The New York Times, in which she referred to the artist's bisexuality. ''Frida Kahlo liked women. I liked men.'' (1).
Finally the NY Times added: “As the artists' reputations -- and the prices for their work -- rebounded, art critics and intellectuals began to resent Mrs. Olmedo's huge hoard of Riveras and Kahlos and her power over the artists' legacies. She was accused of having grossly underpaid for her collection. Stories swirled that a jealous Mrs. Olmedo was intent on sabotaging Kahlo's legacy.” (1).
Today the collection of Frida Kahlo paintings from the Olmedo collection is travelling the world, currently it can be seen in Paris and, later in 2014, in Rome.
62 original Frida Kahlo are in private collections and 11 are in the wonderful Gelman collection which is also touring the world, currently this collection is shown in Denmark.
Art comes in many forms. Thank you to all our creative visitors!
Today the Village of Promise San Diego (www.vopsandiego.org) visited the Frida Kahlo exhibition.
The kids asked the best questions ever about Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and the exhibition.
We were honoured to have them in the Frida Kahlo exhibition; a great thank you to the Village of Promise organisers and monitors for your fantastic job!
Author: Dr. Mariella Remund