After Diego and Frida were married, they shared their home with Lupe, Diego’s ex-wife, and their two daughters. Frida and Lupe had an on-and-off-again friendship. Lupe taught Frida how to make Diego’s favorite foods and Frida painted Lupe’s portrait.
There’s only this black and white photo of it because Lupe destroyed it during one of those off-again moments. Frida also painting this self portrait Time Flies during her first year of marriage. She began to wear indigenous Mexican clothing and jewelry and that’s reflected in her art from this time forward.
In 1930, Frida traveled for the first time outside Mexico. Diego was commissioned to paint two murals in San Francisco. Before beginning he wanted to get a feel for the place. They visited various places in and around SF, including a trip to Santa Rosa where they visited the home of Luther Burbank, a horticulturist. Burbank died 5 years before and was buried under a tree he had planted from seed. Both Diego and Frida were inspired by Burbank, Frida painted him morphing into the tree. This piece marks a shift in her work toward symbolism and the cycle of life.
After SF, Diego and Frida traveled to NYC (for Diegos’ exhibition at MoMA) at then Detroit (for him to paint a mural.) Frida seemed to like SF but didn’t care for NYC or Detroit. She didn’t like the weather, the food, the hotel, or the high life society. While in Detroit, Frida got pregnant. She had been told that after the accident she wouldn’t be able to carry a child to term. Her doctor gave her quinine and castor oil to provoke an abortion. Later she discovered that she was still pregnant. She decided to continue with the pregnancy and began to get excited about the idea of becoming a mother. However on July 4th, 1932 she was admitted to the hospital where she had a miscarriage. She asked the doctors to show her the baby but they refused. Instead she used textbooks to study the stages of development and created a lithograph depicting what she went through.
Just a few months after her miscarriage, Frida got a telegram that her mom was very ill. Still recovering, she traveled home by train. Once she crossed the border into Mexico, she felt transformed....she was very happy to be back in her homeland. She arrived in Mexico on Sept. 8th and on Sept. 13th her mom died. Frida immediatly returned to painting. She painted Henry Ford Hospital, another piece depicting her hospital experience. Upon her return to Detroit, she painted My Birth and Self-Portrait on the Borderline Between Mexico and the United States.
Frida returned to Detroit and then back to NYC, following where Diego’s projects went. She was painting more than ever but downplayed her work as seen here in 1933’s headline: “gleefully dabbles.” Frida liked NYC better the second time around but really just wanted to go home to Mexico and at the end of 1933, Diego ran out of work and finally agreed.