Self-Portrait with Necklace, Frida Kahlo, 1933

My wife and I visited the Frida Kahlo Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism exhibit at the North Carolina Art Museum in November.  It was an interesting exhibit.

Frida Kahlo was a relative unknown artist during her life.  It was not until the 1980s that her work began to be appreciated on an international level.  She remained a relatively obscure name until 2002, when Salma Hayek portrayed her in the critically acclaimed biopic “Frida.”  Today, more than sixty years since her death, Kahlo is probably the most famous Latin American artist of all time. Her paintings now sell at auction for millions of dollars and her image is recognizable around the globe.

Kahlo was famous for her self-portraits.  This particular painting was completed when the artist was just 26 years old and shows her unique style of painting.  She was self-taught and developed her style, as early Kahlo champion Surrealist artist André Breton, “in total ignorance of the ideas that motivated the activities of my friends and myself”.  Kahlo was still developing her style when this painting was made, so it lacks the surrealism while retaining the modernist feel that was prevalent at that time.

If you’re not familiar with Frida Kahlo, check out her work.  If you want to dig a little deeper, check out Frida: a Biography of Frida Kahlo, by Heden Herrera and, of course, there’s always the movie, Frida, starring Salma Hayek.

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