I've been a fan of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo for as long as
I've known about her. I loved how her paintings always reflected her
sufferings, whether it was her severe injuries, her tumultuous marriage to
artist and communist Diego Rivera, or her struggle with fertility. Her work was
real, raw, and in many ways relatable. Kahlo was a painter who used art to cope
with life's difficulties. She was also a feminist, a progressive, and a woman
determined to live life to its fullest, despite the many obstacles that came
her way. So after years of putting it off (for no particular reason), I finally decided to
sit down and watch the movie Frida, starring Salma Hayek. And
boy did I learn a ton of new things about her. Here are eight things the 2002
biopic taught me about Kahlo.
Frida was a huge fan of Diego Rivera
Kahlo was an art student who deeply admired the Mexican muralist's work and had gone to him for career advice. Diego was 20 years her senior, but the two eventually got involved.
Her accident had her in constant pain
On September 17, 1925, Kahlo was in a bus accident that severely injured her back and pelvis. It left her crippled and in pain for the remainder of her life. Kahlo even composed a portrait called The Accident that touched on her sufferings.
She didn't wear white to her wedding
The artist was constantly fighting against social norms. She even refused to wear white when she married Rivera.
She played by her own rules
Frida never compromised her liberal ways and freely smoked, drank, cursed, and slept around. She was unapologetically a feminist.
She and Rivera had a very tumultuous marriage
The two got married in 1929, divorced in 1940 due to Diego's constant womanizing and infidelity, but then married again that same year. Shortly after their divorce, she painted a self-portrait of herself with short hair she had cut and dressed in men's attire. The painting was titled, Self-Portrait With Cropped Hair. Even after they remarried, the relationship was still very strained.
Rivera slept with her sister
One of the controversies surrounding their marriage was Rivera's affair with Kahlo's younger sister.
She was sexually adventurous
Not only did Kahlo have affairs of her own, but she got involved with both men and women, including Marxist revolutionist Leon Trotsky and American-born French jazz singer and dancer Josephine Baker.
Kahlo was deeply affected by her fertility problems
Many believe that Kahlo's fertility problems were caused by a condition known as Asherman syndrome, which could have been a result of her horrific bus accident that severely damaged her back, pelvis, internal organs, and uterus. Kahlo suffered many miscarriages because of it. Her suffering was reflected in some of her paintings including, Henry Ford Hospital.