Born July 6, 1907 in Coyocoán, Mexico City, Mexico Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón began life with great struggle. Kahlo’s mother, too ill to care for or feed her newborn, hired an Indian wet-nurse to breastfeed and care for the newborn. Kahlo was raised in the family’s home where she was born, later named La Casa Azul (The Blue House). Polio caused Kahlo to lose a great deal of control over her right leg and foot, but did not slow the adventurous child. During her youth Kahlo studied photography in her father’s studio, learning to use the camera, develop, retouch and color photographs and later studied commercial printmaking as a paid apprentice to her father’s close friend, Fernando Fernandez. However, it was while enrolled at The National Preparatory School, to pursue medical studies, that Kahlo met famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. During her youth Kahlo was severely injured when the bus she and a follow political activist and love interest, Alejandro Gómez Arias, collided with a streetcar. In the collision, Kahlo’s spine and pelvis were fractured when she was impaled by a steel handrail. It was upon her returned home from the Red Cross Hospital in Mexico City, that Kahlo began painting using a specially designed easel that could be positioned above her bed to allow her to paint without lifting her back. (biography)
During this period, Kahlo’s often featured Art Nouveau and Still life styles, as seen in her piece Tray with Poppies (1924) and Still Life Roses (1925). As with the majority of her work, Still Life Roses depicts Kahlo’s grief. The piece depicts Kahlo as the closed rose on the table next to full blooming roses which represent Alejandro Gómez Arias, Kahlo’s love interest and the women that he was secretly seeing while also dating Kahlo. They are painted in an open form because it was discovered that the two were intimate, which was something that Kahlo had avoided in an attempt to seek a more personal relationship. “The Peaked...
Lawton, Claire “I Paint my Own Reality,” Phoenix News Times blog, (June 14, 2012).
Zamora, Martha, Frida Kahlo: Brush of Anguish, Chronicle Books, (August 1, 1993).
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