The corporation was founded by Kahlo’s late niece, Isolda Pinedo Kahlo, along with a businessman named Carlos Dorado. It has widely granted licenses for the use of the artist’s visage and name for commercial goods, including for the new Kahlo museum near Cancun and two Kahlo-branded restaurants in Mexico (one associated with that museum), as well as the nail varnishes, a line of tequila, those credit cards, an electric coffee machine and coffee filters, and many other objects.
The corporation is distinct from the Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, which is owned by the Bank of Mexico and overseen by Carlos Phillips Olmedo, director of the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Mexico City, under whose auspices Kahlo and Rivera’s long-time former residence, the Casa Azul, is managed. The trust presides over the loan of Kahlo’s artworks, bequeathed, along with Rivera’s work, to the people of Mexico. (Applying for images of her artworks requires seeking permission from both the National Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico, as well as the Bank of Mexico.)
Since Kahlo did not have children—her accident shattered her pelvis, rendering her infertile—her niece was able to use her inheritance rights to create the “Frida Kahlo” trademark, which is now managed by Beatriz Alvarado, who is not a relation of the Kahlo family, but who took over from Isolda following her death in 2007. According to Alvarado, the organization is simply continuing what she sees as the artist’s self-promotional activities. “She sold herself, in a way,” says Alvarado, referring to the artist frequently painting herself, and dressing in such a way as to draw attention to herself. “We’re just doing what she did. People really identify with her attitude and her experiences as a human being. She went through a really hard time. She expressed herself in a way that no other women did back then.”