I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”
- Frida Kahlo, quoted in Frida Kahlo 1907-1954: Pain and Passion by Andrea Kettenmann
July 6, 2012 celebrates Frida Kahlo’s 105th birthday. Though her paintings display the fantasy and dream-like quality of surrealism, Khalo, a Mexican painter well known for her self-portraits, never considered herself a surrealist, asserting that she didn’t paint her dreams but her reality. Khalo’s work reflects the physical and psychological pain she endured through out her life – from the 32 surgeries, long periods of isolation and recovery, miscarriages, and lifetime of pain that resulted from a traffic accident in 1925 to her volatile marriage to Mexican artist Diego Rivera. In a biography of Kahlo published in Oxford University Press’s Grove Art Online, Hayden Herrera described Khalo’s self-portraits as “a kind of exorcism by which she projected her anguish on to another Frida, in order to separate herself from pain and at the same time confirm her hold on reality.”
Though undoubtedly unwanted, Kahlo’s suffering led to beautiful works of art, literally – Khalo began her painting career while immobilized and isolated for three months after her accident. Constantly examining herself through her self-portraits, Khalo was not afraid of being vulnerable and openly displaying her physical and emotional wounds. Khalo’s personal subject matter combined with bright colors, surreal and primitive style, and the influence of Mexican culture resulted in close to 200 striking and powerful paintings, 55 of which are self-portraits.
Frida Kahlo’s 2013 calendars are for sale at Calendars.com.