Frida Kahlo

Most famous unibrow in art, cheated on her husband with Trotsky, loved Stalin
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Francisco Serrador

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Marguerite Elliot

Contributor

Frida Kahlo ranks very high on the league table of artists who endured a great deal of physical pain and suffering.
 
She started early. Some researchers think she was born with spina bifida and all agree she contracted polio at age 6. At 18 she got crushed in a horrific bus versus trolley accident for which she had to endure over 30 surgeries. At age 46 one of her legs became gangrenous and was partially amputated, and at age 47 she died of a pulmonary embolism. 
 
Some think she committed suicide from an overdose of pain killers. They cite a diary entry which read 'I am waiting to kill myself' and her last diary entry, which says 'I hope the exit is joyful, and I hope never to come back.'
 
Frida dealt with all of this pain by painting and drinking. The drinking was not very successful. 'I tried to drown my sorrows,' she reportedly said, 'but the bastards learnt how to swim.' The painting worked out fine.

Without question, Frida Kahlo sports the most famous unibrow in art history.

This iconic artist was a Mexican communist, and proud of it. She often wore the colorful Tehuana indigenous dress, which also served to cover up her deformed leg, due to a bout with childhood polio. Frida wasn't self-conscious though. Her many self portraits are brutally honest, reflecting the life long physical pain caused by a nasty bus accident when she was 18 years old.

Anguish from her tumultuous relationship with famous husband artist Diego Rivera is also fair game in her work. Rivera and Kahlo had a rocky relationship to say the least. They married, divorced, remarried, cheating all the while. Rivera was known as a ladies' man from day one and made no attempt to cover up his affairs. Kahlo was madly in love with Rivera and was deeply hurt by his philandering ways. She was outgoing, charming, with an off-color sense of humor and as such had no problem engaging in outrageous affairs herself. One of her lovers was the infamous communist Trotsky, who had the misfortune of being murdered during a visit with Kahlo and Rivera.

She once said, “I was born a bitch. I was born a painter. Reknowned surrealist artist Andre Breton described Kahlo’s work as, “A ribbon around a bomb.” Both the artist and her work were definitely edgy! This might be why she only three major shows during her lifetime. But now of course, her list of achievements is endless. Since her death in 1954 Kahlo has been become the...

  • First Mexican woman featured on an U.S. postage stamp.
  • Star of Frida, a biographical film grossing $58 million worldwide (played by Salma Hayek, no less!).
  • Subject of the novel Lacuna by best selling author Barbara Kingsolver.
  • A Google logo on the 100th anniversary of her birthdate. 

Viva Frida!

 

Frida Kahlo is mentioned on Sartle Blog -