1 minute read

Frida Kahlo: 1907—1954: Artist

Madonna Collected Kahlo Works

Kahlo had solo exhibitions in New York and Paris in the late 1930s and in Mexico City in 1953, by which time her health was in serious decline. Her right leg was amputated at the knee that year, sending her into a final downward spiral; her death on July 13, 1954 (in the same house she had lived in all her life, now a Kahlo museum) may have resulted from a blood clot in the lungs or from an intentional drug overdose, but in either case released her from extreme misery. With each decade after her death her work gained appreciation from young art enthusiasts—including pop super-star Madonna—and by the century's end she was arguably as well known as Rivera.

Mexican, shaped by disabilities, bisexual, inexhaustibly creative—all these ideas describe Frida Kahlo, but neither separately nor even together do they suffice to capture her spirit. Kahlo was very much a 20th-century woman in her determination to carry out her own artistic vision. But with the 2002 release of a major film biography of Kahlo, starring actress Salma Hayek, a fresh round of interest in Kahlo's life and career seemed ready to persist well into the 21st century.



Dictionary of Hispanic Biography, Gale, 1996.

Herrera, Hayden, Frida Kahlo: A Biography, Harper & Row, 1983.

Kahlo, Frida, The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate: Self-Portrait, Abrams, 1996.


Art in America, January 1993, p. 35; March 1996, p. 31; September 2001, p. 168.

People, February 12, 1996, p. 83.

Variety, January 1, 2001, p. 6.

—James M. Manheim

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Dan Jacobson Biography - Dan Jacobson comments: to Barbara Knutson (1959–2005) Biography - PersonalFrida Kahlo: 1907—1954: Artist Biography - Affected By Mexican Revolution, Suffered A Miscarriage, Madonna Collected Kahlo Works