Frida Kahlo, one of the greatest painters to ever emerge from Mexico, died 62 years ago, on July 13, 1954. While her self-portraits are replicated all over the place to this day, and individuals channel her style — unibrow, flower crown, and huipil — on Halloween and outside of it, it's important that we remember that Kahlo was much more that the original selfie queen. On Wednesday, the New York Times probed into her work "The Two Fridas" in order to demonstrate her artistic prowess.
Kahlo’s paintings often shifted the viewer’s perspective beyond her self-portraits to offer personal and societal commentary, both subtle and overt. “I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint,” Kahlo said.
Some of her artistic themes were highlighted in “The Two Fridas,” a 1939 oil painting that shows two seated Kahlos holding hands. Near-mirror images, they reflect love and loss and ideas surrounding beauty. The two hold hands, connected by shared veins that flow to their exposed hearts. One heart appears to be broken, with blood splattered on Kahlo’s lap from a cut vein.The other is intact with blood pumped to a framed photo of Diego Rivera, the celebrated muralist with whom Kahlo had a tumultuous marriage and had divorced that year. (The couple remarried the following year.) Together, the two Fridas suggest the physical and emotional toll of the divorce.
However, during her lifetime, her art was never fully recognized. The original New York Times obituary was titled “Frida Kahlo, Artist, Diego Rivera’s Wife.” During the '30s, The Detroit News once ran an article on Kahlo with the headline “Wife of the Master Mural Painter Gleefully Dabbles in Works of Art.” Thankfully, time rectified this egregious oversight.
Head over to the New York Times to read more and watch a video, via video channel Super Deluxe, honoring Kahlo in the weirdest way possible below.