January and my study of Frida may be over but I still have a few Frida projects in the works. In the meantime here are my sketchbook pages and notes from the last few days:
Sketchbook: several of Frida's paintings depict various beds.
In April 1953, Frida had her only solo exhibition in Mexico during her lifetime at the Gallery of Contemporary Art. Frida's doctors told her she could not attend because of her poor health. She did not want to miss this event. She arrived in an ambulance and was carried in on a stretcher and transferred to a bed in the middle of the gallery.
Although she had been suffering from pneumonia Frida attended a protest rally against the US intervention in Guatemala on July 2, 1954 against doctor's orders. Instead of her usual elaborate hairstyle she wore a scarf, Diego pushed her wheelchair.
Five days later, Frida celebrated her 44th birthday, though she was 47. (Remember Frida claimed that she was born in 1910, aligning her birth with the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution.) She had a grand party with many guests. She died in her bed at the Blue House on July 13, 1954. The cause of death is listed as pulmonary embolism but many speculate that she committed suicide.
Frida's beloved friend Isabella Villaseñor committed suicide the year before Frida died. Several pages in Frida's diary are dedicated to Chabela, before and after her death including this double portrait. After Chabela's death Frida wrote--
Until I leave
Until I travel your path-
Have a good trip Chabela!
Crimson, crimson, crimson
Long live Marx, Engels, Lenin
Long love comrade Stalin
You left us, Chabela Villaseñor
But your voice, your electricity,
your enormous talent, your poetry,
your light, your mystery
all your being remains alive
Isabel Villaseñor, painter, poet, singer,
Crimson, crimson, crimson,
like the blood that runs
When they kill a deer.
Frida Kahlo also left us but her voice, her electricity, her enormous talent, her strength, her courage, her light, her mystery, all her being remains alive.
For the last day of Frida, I did a little #meettheartist....
Frida Kahlo born July 6, 1907 (cancer 🦀)
Pets: Itzcuintli dogs including "Mr. Xoloti" 🐕 Parrot "Bonito" and other birds 🐦, spider monkey "Fulang Chang" 🐒, fawn "Granizo" 🦌
Likes 👍🏽selfies, fashion, jewelry, Mexican heritage 🇲🇽, activism
Dislikes👎🏽cheating husbands, Surrealism, illness & loss, being alone
This photo shows all the books I used for my study this month. My favorite and the Frida book that I highly recommend is Frida Kahlo at Home. It's an excellent mix of biography, photos, and paintings in a beautifully designed book.
My only possible critique of that book is that there a very few drawings in it. This week I looked through the two larger books for Frida's drawings. She did sketch out her paintings beforehand as evidenced by these two drawings below.
A couple of you have sent me links to the Alabama Chanin series on Frida Kahlo and that has been really fun to see, especially which art and photos they chose to share.
A couple other interesting links that I found this week:
- a virtual tour of the Frida Kahlo Museum/The Blue House in Mexico City
- Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, FL (I just might be going to this soon!)
- Frida Kahlo's Fulang-Chang and I hanging next to the mirror that Kahlo made to be displayed together
The intense study may be over but I'll always be on the look out for Frida. She is an icon for women's rights, disabled people, the LGBTQ community, and all those who feel like an outsider. I chose to study Frida because she's one of the most popular (female) artists and yet I knew very little about her. I learned a lot and she's now one of my most favorite artists. :)