The evolution of Frida Kahlo, from girl of good family to young spouse of Diego Rivera to becoming the most famous female artist of all times, can be followed in her art and her fashion.
The Frida Kahlo collection shows, through vintage photographs, the evolution of Frida’s style, and over 30 dresses as Frida used to wear and paint starting in 1940 when she was 33 years old.
Photos of Frida Kahlo and her family, taken by her father Wilhelm Kahlo, show that Frida came from a conservative family where the girls wore dresses in sailor style, ribbons in the hair and patent leather shoes.
As a young 18 year old woman, she dresses in a conservative fashion with a silk garment and white socks.
Meeting Diego Rivera brought a change in her style, and Frida Kahlo started to wear simple traditional Mexican dresses combined with extraordinary Maya necklaces and elaborated earrings, which Diego gave her as a present.
Over the years, Frida selected the Tehuana blouses (huipils) and dresses of the strong women of the Tehuantepec region as her favourite attire.
Photographic documentation illustrates that, starting in 1940 with the second marriage to Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo wears more exclusive, elaborate Huipils originated in small villages in the regions around Oaxaca, Guerrero and Puebla.
These dresses are a testimony of how Frida style became richer, more colourful and decorated, as with these highly embroderied dresses she wanted to hide the increasing disintegration of her body.
The dresses in the Kunstmuseum Gehrke-Remund collection already a rarity in the 1940’s, are the result of months long research from the Museum-Curators. Each piece is an original made in the villages in South Mexico where they were hand-vowen, hand embroidered by the ethnic women who still live in these villages.
Each piece in the collection has a unique story, here below are some of my favourite, not only because of the story connected to Frida wearing the identical dress, but also because of the story of finding them and showing them for the first time in the Museum in Baden-Baden, Germany.
Huipil from Huautla de Jiménez with black skirt as Frida Kahlo wore for her second wedding in San Francisco, 1940. This is an extremely rare cotton Huipil, hand embroidered with wool, decorated with lace, coloured satin ribbons, usually pink and blue.
The garment is divided into three squares at the top and three at the bottom. On the chest and on the back flowers and real size birds are embroidered. The neckline is adorned with a large collar of tulle and satin ribbons alternating blue and pink. Ribbons and lace decorate the sleeves.
The original Huipil is worn with a white cotton skirt with embroidered birds at the end of the skirt hold tightly at the waist with a large red cotton belt. Frida Kahlo used to wear it with a long black skirt.
Huautla de Jiménez (the name means “eagle nest”) is a village at 1700 mt with 30’000 inhabitants in the Mazatec region. It is seven hours journey by bus from Oaxaca on winding mountain roads.
# 72: Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait with Cropped Hair, 1940, # 82: Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait with Braid, 1941; Licensed replica: ©Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2008
Huipil from Jalapa de Diaz with red-ruby skirt as Frida wore in a photo session with Leo Matiz, famous VIP photographer, 1940.
This is a very sophisticated and richly decorated Huipil made of green silk material embroidered with flowers in red.
The embroideries not always represent stylized plants or birds, the style varies from family to family. A large white lace collar cut in a round shape adorns the neck.
The Huipil is made of three sections, each section always ends with a white lace, the sleeves are made of the same lace material.
Jalapa de Diaz (the name means “in the sand”) is a village with 26000 inhabitants in the Mazatec region. It is five hours drive from Oaxaca.
Antique Rebozo made in Tenancingo, provenience: Mexico City, 1827.
This is a rebozo as Frida Kahlo used to wear and paint.
It is a loom woven scarf in deep blue (indigo), white wool and cotton with a very long elaborate knotted fringe.
Tenancingo, South West of Mexico City, is best noted for the production of robozos, being documented as early as 1790.
Photo: # 83: Frida Kahlo, Portrait of Lucha Maria, A Girl from Tehuacan, 1942; Licensed replica © Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2008
“Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress: The Fashion of Frida Kahlo” by Carlos Phillips Olmedo, Denise Rosenzweig, Magdalena Rosenzweig and Teresa del Conde (2008).
Author: Dr. Mariella Remund
DEUTSCHE WELLE COMMEMORATES THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF FRIDA KAHLO DEATH WITH AN ARTICLE CONCERNING THE COLLECTION IN THE KUNSTMUSEUM GEHRKE-REMUND IN GERMANY.
“FRIDA KAHLO ES TAN POLIFACÉTICA COMO UN PRISMA”
El museo de Frida Kahlo en Alemania no solo reúne la mayor colección de obras de la artista mexicana, sino que las muestra en el contexto de su singular vida. A 60 años de su muerte, sigue fascinando al público. …..
Enlace permanente http://dw.de/p/1CYhy
„Portrait of Frida“
Cui Tao click, more about the artist
Oil on canvas
82 x 115 cm
Private collection, Beijing, China
Currently on loan to the Kunstmuseum Gehrke-Remund, Baden-Baden
This oil on canvas painting reproduces a black and white with sepia tones photo of Frida Kahlo taken by her father, Guillermo Kahlo, on February 7th 1926 (7-II-1926).
The photo which inspired this painting was taken five months after the almost fatal bus accident Frida Kahlo suffered on September 17th 1925. This “Portrait of Frida” based on such photo shows a 18 year old Frida wearing a Chinese silk dress, sitting in her parents’ sitting room, on her lap lie two books. It seems almost a miracle that Frida recovered so quickly from the accident which almost killed her and left her physically and emotionally marked for life.
Beyond the artistic value this painting, has a biographic meaning as it captures a young, serious Frida in the year when she started to paint intensely to express her pain and feelings.
The artist is Cui Tao, 44 year old, Chinese artist known in China for his portraits of families during the Cultural Revolution. Cui Tao lives in Beijing since 2004 and has exhibited his works in Da shan zi (798), the most famous art district in Beijing.
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
Resplandor (Spanish), meaning “The Brilliant, The Glowing”.
Original from Salina de Cruz, Oaxaca, Mexico. Salina de Cruz is of “Zapotec” ethnicity, one of the most important pre-columbian cultures. The dresses that Frida Kahlo used to wear and paint come from this area and ethnical culture.
The Resplandor is a typical headdress of the Tehuana women in the province of Oaxaca, Mexico. The pleated part fits tightly around the face, the Resplandor is hand made in white lace with colored satin ribbons and starched, white pleated ruffles.
Two “Resplandor” are in the Frida Kahlo collection.
“Being able to have and exhibit the two “Resplandor” is of high cultural and artistic value. To our knowledge no museum in Europe has even shown such pieces before”, said Mr. Gehrke, Museum Director of the Kunstmuseum Gehrke-Remund, Germany.
Frida Kahlo painted herself wearing the “Resplandor” in two of her self- portraits.
She started painting the fist one in 1940, the year of her divorce from Diego Rivera: “Self-portrait as a Tehuana or Diego in my thoughts”, eight years later she painted the second one “Self-portrait, 1948”.
Both paintings (hand painted licensed replicas from © Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2008) can be seen, next to the “Resplandor”.
Many exhibition visitors have asked us to develop a time-line of world events linked to Frida Kahlo paintings. Frida Kahlo (1907 - 1954) lived in a very intensive historical period for both Mexico and the rest of the world, nevertheless the majority of her paintings depict her personal world, emotions and feelings.
Here we have selected seven world events, we have matched a photo of Frida Kahlo at that time and the painting she painted in that year.
The photographs and the paintings shown here can be seen in the exhibition in addition to Mexican dresses, paintings, jewels and a large selection of photographs from the time of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
Paintings by Frida Kahlo:
# 27: Frieda and Diego Rivera, 1931
# 65: What the Water Gave Me, 1934
# 50: Self-Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky, 1937
# 104: Moses, 1945
# 135: Self Portrait with Stalin, 1954
# 137: Viva la Vida, Watermelons, 1954
All paintings: Licensed replica by ©Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2008.
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
Miguel Gleason, Director of the documentaries: Mexico in Spain, Mexico in Italy, in Germany and in Europe called the exhibition in Baden-Baden: "a secret and mysterious place".
The series of documentaries have been sponsored by CONACULTA (Mexican Ministry of Culture) to document and record Mexican treasures in European museums.
In the documentary: Mexico in Germany and Austria, three highlights are shown: the headdress of Montezuma (currently in the Museum of Ethnology in Vienna), the Maya Codex (in the Sächsische Landesbibliothek in Dresden), and the Frida Kahlo Exhibition (Kunstmuseum Gehrke-Remund, Baden-Baden) currently on loan in San Diego (*).
The documentaries are meant to be distributed to all schools, universities, libraries, museums in Mexico.
(*) the 123 replicas are licensed by © Banco de Mexico, Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust/ VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2008
Author: Dr. Mariella Remund
The paintings are licensed replicas from © Banco de Mexico, Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2008.
Over the years the Museum founders have added to this private collection so that today the Museum counts over 1000 exhibits, including entire rooms of the Blue House reconstructed from vintage photos to the smallest detail.
Probably one of the most iconic additions to the exhibition was the canopy bed of Frida Kahlo reproduced to the millimeter in the same materials and style as her own bed in Mexico City. Today the exhibition shows more than 30 Mexican dresses, a Mexican rebozo (scarf) dated ca.1827, two photographs from Nickolas Muray from the Nikolas Muray Archives and over 120 photos of Frida, her family, her friends, and Mexico between 1900 to 1950.
During the years in Baden-Baden the Museum and the Frida Kahlo exhibition were the preferred place for schools visits, families Sunday outings, first dates and, following the trail of love, even for a surprise marriage proposal, an actual wedding and a married couple for 23 years, finally bought their first wedding rings in the museum shop for $4 each.
All these events, and many more, happened under the vigilant, penetrating, mysterious eyes of Frida Kahlo looking from the paintings.
This year, the 5th anniversary of the opening of the Museum was celebrated in San Diego; since October 2013 until May 2014 all the exhibits in show and Frida’s story could be seen at NTC Liberty Station in San Diego for the pleasure of the visitors coming from Mexico and California.