Frida Kahlo, 1926 | Photographed by Guillermo Kahlo

Frida Kahlo

Posted on February 11, 2013

Although Frida’s birth certificate states she was born on July 6, 1907, she claimed her birth date as July 7, 1910, as she had allegedly wanted her year of her birth to coincide with the year of the beginning of the Mexican revolution so that her life would begin with the birth of modern Mexico.

Frida suffered lifelong health problems. Many of her health problems were the result of a traffic accident she survived as a teenager. Recovering from her injuries isolated her from other people and this isolation influenced her art works.

I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.

On September 17, 1925, Kahlo was riding in a bus that collided with a trolley car. She suffered serious injuries as a result of the accident, including a broken spinal column a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a broken pelvis, eleven fractures in her right leg, a crushed and dislocated right foot, and a dislocated shoulder. An iron handrail pierced her abdomen and her uterus, compromising her reproductive capacity. She had as many as thirty-five operations as a result of the accident

There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.

Frida and Diego’s marriage was often troubled. Kahlo and Rivera both had irritable temperaments and numerous extramarital affairs. The bisexual Kahlo had affairs with both men and women, including Isamu Noguchi and Josephine Baker. Rivera knew of and tolerated her relationships with women, but her relationships with men made him jealous. For her part, Kahlo was furious when she learned that Rivera had an affair with her younger sister, Cristina. The couple divorced in November 1939, but remarried in December 1940. Their second marriage was as troubled as the first. Their living quarters were often separate, although sometimes adjacent.

Frida Kahlo died on July 13, 1954, soon after turning 47. A few days before her death, she wrote in her diary:

I hope the exit is joyful — and I hope never to return — Frida

The official cause of death was given as a pulmonary embolism, although some suspected that she died from an overdose that may or may not have been accidental.

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