One hundred years ago today, Frida Kahlo was born. In Mexico, the occasion is being marked with the opening of the exhibition Treasures from the Blue House, Frida and Diego, featuring never-before-seen items locked away in trunks at Kahlo and husband Diego Rivera’s house, Casa Azul (now the Frida Kahlo Museum). The show includes 22,105 documents, 5,387 photos, 179 pieces of clothing and more than 6,000 magazines and books owned by Kahlo. Much of the material was locked away at Rivera’s request; he asked that her personal effects not be exhibited publicly for 15 years after her death in 1957. The AP reports:
But Dolores Olmedo, a patron of Rivera, kept them closed, believing the trunks could contain personal information that would compromise the couple’s image, said her son, Carlos Phillips Olmedo, who runs several museums, including The Blue House.
In 2004, a year after Olmedo’s death, curators opened the trunks.
Inside they found corsets Kahlo used to support her back, after she fractured it in a bus accident as a young girl.
Curators also found snippets reflecting Kahlo’s daily life, including a trolley car ticket with a scribbled note, a napkin stained with a lipstick kiss, letters from European artists and 102 never-before-seen drawings by Kahlo.
They also discovered 30 photos that Kahlo’s father, photographer Guillermo Kahlo, had taken of himself, possibly inspiring Kahlo’s self portraits which she used to deal with her accident, her tumultuous marriage and her inability to have children.
Closer to home, the Walker, in association with SFMOMA, is commemorating Kahlo’s birth year with the first American traveling Kahlo traveling exhibition in decades. Frida Kahlo will open at a preview party in Minneapolis on October 26. Curated by the Walker’s Betsy Carpenter and guest co-curator (and Kahlo’s official biographer) Hayden Herrera, it features some of Kahlo’s best known paintings, art her works inspired, and a room of photos from Kahlo’s personal albums, many never exhibited before. The show will travel to the Philadelphia Museum of Art this winter and SFMOMA next summer.
Above: Kahlo poses with Guadalupe Marin, onetime wife of Diego Rivera.