Frida Kahlo, ‘Arbol de la Esperanza (Tree of Hope)’, 1946, MCA Chicago

Image rights: © 2014 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.

Unbound: Contemporary Art After Frida Kahlo, MCA Chicago, May 3 - October 5, 2014.

Private Collection, Chicago.

About Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo’s life has become as iconic as her work, in no small part because she was her own most popular subject: roughly one third of her entire oeuvre is self-portraits. Her works were intensely personal and political, often reflecting her turbulent personal life, her illness, and her relationship with the revolutionary muralist Diego Rivera. Kahlo dedicated her life and her art to the Mexican Revolution and the simultaneous artistic renaissance it engendered. Her style of painting has been widely categorized; Rivera considered her a realist, while André Breton considered her a Surrealist, and Kahlo eschewed labels entirely. “I paint my own reality,” she wrote. “The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.” She identified most strongly with Mexican popular and folk art, also evidenced in her habit of dressing elaborately in Tehuana costumes.

Mexican, 1907-1954, Coyoacán, Mexico, based in Coyoacán, Mexico