the mexican couple

Frieda and Diego Rivera by frida kahlo in 1931

The couple, Frida and Diego, is a legend.  Their stories were probably what the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona was based on.

Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954) had a life filled with misfortune and misery but she never gave up.  At six, Frida  contracted polio, which left her right leg thinner than the left, and she disguised by wearing long, colorful skirts. This did not stop her from participating in boxing and other sports. In 1922, she was enrolled in one of Mexico’s premier schools and became one of only thirty-five girls.

In 1925, Frida suffered serious injuries in a traffic accident, including a broken spinal column, collarbone, ribs, pelvis, fractures in her right leg, a crushed and dislocated right foot, and a dislocated shoulder. An iron handrail pierced her abdomen and her uterus, which seriously damaged her reproductive ability.  She underwent as many as thirty-five operations as a result of the accident, mainly on her back, her right leg and right foot.

After the accident, Kahlo turned her attention away from the study of medicine to begin a full-time painting career. Drawing on personal experiences, including her marriage, her miscarriages, and her numerous operations, Kahlo’s works often are characterized by symbolic portrayals of physical and psychological wounds. She insisted, “I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.”

Considered the greatest Mexican painter of the twentieth century, Diego Rivera (1886 – 1957) was a notorious womanizer.  After two marriages and fathering at least one illegitimate child, he met Frida while he was still married.  They married in 1929 when he was forty-two and she was twenty-two.  Frida and Diego had fiery temperaments. Diego knew of Frida’s openly bisexual affairs and tolerated her relationships with women, but not her relationships with men. Frida was furious when she learned that Diego had an affair with her younger sister, Cristina. The couple eventually divorced, but remarried in 1940 in San Francisco. Their second marriage was as turbulent as the first.

Two Frida by Frida Kahlko in

The Two Frida by Frida Kahlo in 1939

Flower Seller by Diego Rivera

Flower Seller by Diego Rivera

The Broken Column by Frida Kahlo in 1944

The Broken Column by Frida Kahlo in 1944

Flower Carrier by Diego Rivera

Flower Carrier by Diego Rivera

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