5 Interesting Facts about Frida Kahlo

Ana Campos, Principal Librarian, Central Library Services,
2 Frida Kahlos in a painting
"I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best."—Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo is a world-renowned Mexican female painter. Kahlo’s art depicts the importance of indigenous cultures. Although her image and artwork is recognized worldwide, many people do not know much about her personal life. To give you a brief glimpse of this iconic artist, below are 5 interesting facts about Frida Kahlo:

  1. Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón was born in Coyoacán, Mexico on July 6, 1907. Frida’s father was German and her mother was of Spanish and Indigenous descent. Kahlo was fluent in Spanish, English, and German.
  2. Kahlo's career goal was to study medicine, but a fateful accident changed her path. In 1925, Kahlo was in a horrific bus accident that kept her bedridden for many months. It was during that time that she began painting.
  3. Kahlo was married to the famous Mexican painter Diego Rivera. A relationship that is often described as tumultuous. Throughout their marriage, both Rivera and Kahlo had multiple affairs. Rivera even had an affair with Kahlo’s younger sister. Kahlo, as a bisexual woman, had affairs with both men and women, including an affair with the Ukrainian-Russian Marxist revolutionary Leon Trotsky.
  4. The 500 Mexican peso bill contains Frida’s portrait on one side and Diego Rivera’s on the other side.
  5. Many of Kahlo’s paintings are self-portraits. As she said, "I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best."

Recommended Reading

Frida: The Story of Her Life
Vinci, Vanna

Frida Kahlo
Bauer, Claudia

Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo
Herrera, Hayden

Frida Kahlo
Souter, Gerry

Frida Kahlo…Between Passion and Pain

Discover the Real Frida Kahlo

To learn more about this iconic artist, join Dr. Gloria Arjona on July 6 at 6 p.m. in a multidisciplinary program that delves into the artists, rituals, and traditions that inspired Frida Kahlo, and the important role of art in her personal life.