Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Frida: Timeless

Long time readers know that I have a special fondness for Frida Kahlo.  Her art and heart have inspired me and I hope this post inspires you too.  

During our family reunion I was able to see the special Frida Kahlo  exhibit in Illinois.  

It was planned for summer of 2020....but as we all know, Covid delayed many events, including this one.
It was held in a beautiful new facility in my old hometown of Glen Ellyn, Illinois where we lived for 12 years in 3 different homes.

Frida was born in Mexico in 1907 and died at the age of 47.   She had a tumultuous marriage to Diego Rivera the famous muralist painter.  You can read more about her on the MAC website here.

A recreation of her bed where she painted.  Notice the mirror above used for her self portraits and to paint her body casts.
Here is a photo of her real bedroom in Mexico. 
Frida suffered Polio as a child, and when she was 18, she was in a horrific bus accident where she impaled by a long metal pipe causing damage to her pelvis and spine along with many other injuries. 

A replica of one of her many body casts which she painted.
She lived in a world of pain and endured 35 surgeries.  She wore many different corrests to stabilize her torso.
Despite her pain, she loved to wear beautiful colorful skirts and blouses in the Mexican Style.
They also helped to hide her disfigured polio leg and the corsets.  Beautiful photos of Frida with flowers in her hair.
Frida on Color:
Frida painted 200 paintings in her lifetime.  Here are a just of few of my favorite paintings in this exhibit.
This is a disturbing painting (one of many she pained) but I admire her bravery and honesty in creating it and painting the frame.
This is a painting that depicts the pain Frida suffered after a miscarriage while in Detroit.  She longed to be a mother and was never able to fulfill that dream.  It left a deep scar on her emotionally.
I was very surprised at the size of the painting, which is quite small but very detailed.  It is heartbreaking and very intimate, as are many of her biographical paintings. I didn't get a photo of the placard, so here is a description from a book.
Here are the two art books of her art that I own. 
A beautiful painting on copper of flowers.

Wonderful explanations of her art and her life.
I went to the exhibit with my beautiful niece, Katie from Seattle and Rich's cousin, Sally, from MA.    We each took in the exhibit at our own paces and spent time on the things that were interesting to each of us.   
Here is a challenge quilt I made several years ago giving honor to Frida. I used the Madonna as my inspiration.
It is all fused and collaged with string piecing. 
Here is another Frida adjacent post that I wrote years ago.

I highly recommend the movie Frida, starring Salma Hayek.  You can see it on HBO or rent it on Amazon and other streaming services.  It was my first real introduction to her life story.
If you are still here reading about Frida, thank you!
She has given me so much inspiration and an opportunity to be grateful for my life.


  1. Barb gracias por este reportaje maravilloso sobre Frida, Mis ahijadas, mi hermana y yo somos gran admiradoras de Frida

  2. Thank you for sharing this, Barb. I saw an exhibit of her paintings several years ago at the MOMA in SF but it was nothing like this. I’ve also read books about her life ((and seen the movie) but this exhibit really brings home not only the pain she suffered throughout her life but how she faced and overcame it with art. She also faced sexism in the art world, but refused to live in the shadow of her famous husband. She was a revolutionary artist, and remarkable woman.

  3. PS your homage to Frida is stunning!

  4. We saw an exhibit of her art at the Detroit Institute of Art a few years ago. Diego Rivera has a mural there too as part of their permanent collection.

  5. Thank you for posting these remarkable images! I have wanted to see her work in person for years. Such an amazing woman in so many ways.

  6. it is the theme for the next art quilt that I am supposed to make with a group of art quilters. Such an opportune blog post, thanks

  7. I learned so much about her here that I never knew. An amazing woman.
    Your challenge quilt is incredible, Barb! So glad you were able to see the exhibit!

  8. Thank you for this wonderful post! I admire Frida's art and I can't imagine the pain and suffering that she endured and yet was still able to be incredibly creative and prolific!! Amazing!!!!!

  9. Wow, what an amazing post about someone I'd never heard of!The Broken Column painting was deeply moving for me. I will definitely be checking out the movie and more of her painting s

  10. She is the reason that I say: I woke up with pain but I woke up. With all the pains, physical, emotional, and psychological that she endured, nothing shows in her painting. I mean there's no revenge, hatred or blaming. Love her. Rest in peace, Frida. Thanks for this beautiful post. ;^)

  11. Beautiful tribute post. She is someone I'd not heard of before, but her art is amazing, provocative, and tender all at once. So hard to imagine the physical pain she endured, and yet the beauty of her soul shines through.

  12. She was a strong figure in the art world. Her pain certainly wasn’t expressed in a hidden way. I love all the colors she used. Your tribute quilt is gorgeous!

  13. What a great opportunity you had to join your niece and see the exhibit! I'll check out the movie-thank you. I love your challenge quilt.

  14. I learned about her a few years ago and wow what an incredible person! Thanks for sharing the exhibit and more of her paintings.

  15. She was an amazing woman and your quilt is a beautiful acknowledgement of her and her life. You captured her style and colors. Thanks for a lovely post.

  16. Hard to imagine being in such pain and creating such amazing works of art. And how incredibly lucky that you were there when the exhibit was on. Thanks so much for sharing this. I love your quilt very much.
    I went to an exhibit at a small art gallery a few years ago where it was a collection of quilters' visions of Frida. It was fascinating. I'll find some of the pictures and send them.
    Thanks for sharing!!

  17. At a family gathering years ago my sister's showed Frida movie to us. I later was able to find the DVD and bought one. I love seeing other artists work, and find out about their lives.

  18. Oh my goodness what a fabulous post. I got chills. I realized I knew next to nothing about Frida Kahlo. I will have to watch the movie. So many artists create out of pain, despite the pain, because of the pain...? Your tribute quilt to her is fabulous. I like visiting museums the same way - sort of being on your own and then meeting up again.

  19. This was informative. I had no clue. I knew of Frida and could recognize her and some of her work but didn't know her story. I am ashamed to say, and I had a college level art history class and didn't learn her story. Your blog and the inspiration you provide is always a gift. I'm forever learning something new from you and the background story you always provide. Thank you friend!

  20. WOW You did good with this post. Fantastic. I devoured every single word. Thank you so much xox

  21. Thanks for enlightening me about an artist I've never heard of. Isn't it uplifting and motivating to learn about an artist's life, and what "made her tick"? Her work is certainly interesting, and I'm happy for you to find so much understanding and pleasure in her work. And especially to get to see an exhibit of it. No doubt it was a very special experience for you.

  22. Thank you for sharing your visit to this exhibition, she was a colorful artist. Love the quilt you made in honor of her, it’s beautiful. Helen Godden is going to do a Frida themed BOM, that’s how I got interested in her (and ended up reading your blog).

  23. Thanks for this wonderful post, Barb! I like Frida's work, too. You really captured the essence of her being in your little quilt which I saw at the Brownstone Show years ago :)


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