Frida Kahlo. Paintings and drawings from Mexico’s collections.
Starting February 3, 2016 Fabergé Museum in St. Petersburg will host a retrospective exhibition of a renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. This will be the first Frida Kahlo exposition of such scale in Russia. The exhibition will feature 34 works, including paintings, drawings and lithographs, both from her earlier and later periods, allowing viewers to appreciate the stylistic evolution of the artist. Also on display will be more than a hundred photographs covering different periods of Frida’s life, as well as Mexican folk costumes similar to those Kahlo loved to wear herself.
The exhibition Frida Kahlo. Paintings and drawings from Mexico’s collections is without a doubt an art event of international significance. Practically all of the artist’s works available for loan outside of Mexico will be on display at Fabergé Museum. Among them are famous paintings, forming essential part of art history of the 20th century:
• The Broken Column - the most famous painting by Frida Kahlo, a collective image of physical and mental suffering, the epitome of her unique style;
• Portrait of Doña Rosita Morillo – painting Frida Kahlo herself considered one of her best works;
• Henry Ford Hospital – a candid depiction of the artist’s own great tragedy, revolutionary for a Catholic patriarchal country and for the art world before the 1970s.
It is hard to believe that Frida Kahlo had achieved such international popularity, but did not receive systematic art training, and her first creative attempts were of random nature. For a long time after suffering severe injuries in an accident, she was bedridden. To entertain and support his daughter, Frida’s father had built her a frame, which allowed her to draw, and attached a mirror to her bed. Frida’s first work was a self-portrait. Later this genre became the core of her work. Frida had close ties to Mexico’s cultural and political processes, however, not her erudition or familiarity with other art periods, or her involvement in Mexico’s political life, changed the subjects of her works: the main characters from picture to picture were Frida herself, her family and friends.
Self-portraits and small family portraits were typical genres for female artists of the 18th through the first half of the 20th centuries. For decades, women had limited access to formal art education on par with men; they were usually home-schooled and used their families and themselves as models. However, Frida Kahlo’s paintings full of symbols and hidden meanings, but never losing the candor of her message, have forever changed this genre. The pompous representation with professional attributes – paints and brushes – was displaced by a narrative about physical pain, tragic life events, and soul searching. For the first half of the 20th century this approach was truly revolutionary.
Despite wide popularity, there has never been a Frida Kahlo retrospective exhibition in Russia. Although Frida Kahlo paintings are scarcely available for loans outside of Mexico, after lengthy negotiations The Link of Times Foundation succeeded in organizing this long-awaited exhibition. The exhibition will last for three months from February 3 through April 30, 2016 at Fabergé Museum in St. Petersburg. This is yet another in a series of projects undertaken by The Link of Times Foundation aimed at making world’s masterpieces of fine and applied art available to the Russian audience.
The exhibits for Frida Kahlo. Paintings and drawings from Mexico’s collections have been generously provided by the Museum Dolores Olmedo, Galería Arvil, and by Juan Coronel Rivera, grandson of Diego Rivera.
Curator of the exhibition: Ekaterina V. Lopatkina. PhD, Deputy Head of the Contemporary Art Department of the State Hermitage Museum.
An illustrated exhibition catalogue is available.
The Link of Times Foundation, Museo Dolores Olmedo and MondoMostre are the organizers of this exhibition.